Jennex says province committed to SHS gym

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Dept. Education rep says more seating to be found in existing size of gymansium

Education Minister Ramona Jennex.

UPDATE: Dan Harris, Communication Director for the Department of Education, says the retendering process for the next phase at Springhill High School will focus on finding expanded seating, but within the current space and without expanding the overall square footage of the gymnasium.

The first tender, Harris said, looked at expanding the gymnasium, which lead to the cost overruns. The new tender is to look at expanding seating while maintaining the overall size of the gymnasium.

 

SPRINGHILL – Despite concern to the contrary, Nova Scotia Education Minister Ramona Jennex says Springhill High is still getting an expansion to its gymnasium.

Jennex responded to Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie’s letter to Treasury Board chair Frank Corbett today, saying Baillie’s call for the board to uphold the expansion and allegation the project was downgraded to a renovation of the same size confusing.

“I think Jamie has a misunderstanding of the project,” Jennex said.

Renovations at the junior-senior high school were broken down to four phases, with the last phase being the expansion of the gymnasium, seating area, lockers and washrooms.

“The project, as agreed upon, is an expansion, with more seating, new floor and acoustic panels and a complete rebuild of the locker rooms and washrooms.” Nova Scotia Minsiter of Education Ramona Jennex

“The project, as agreed upon, is an expansion, with more seating, new floor and acoustic panels and a complete rebuild of the locker rooms and washrooms,” said the minister.

Tenders for the $1.9 project were called in June 2012, Jennex said, but came in at $2.9 million – more than 50 per cent than estimated.

The project is now being re-tendered, Jennex said, to find a bid closer to the government’s estimate.

“We’re re-tendering it to make sure we’re getting value for our dollar. But we can’t allow the province to be on the hook for $1 million… we are committed the students have a gym upgrade. I know it’s key they have more seating.”

In his Jan. 15th letter to Treasury Board chair Corbett, a copy of which was also sent to Jennex, Baillie said it was reported at a meeting of the school steering team, which oversees the project, the treasury board had decided to cancel the expansion and order a renovation of the existing gym instead.

To date, an approximate $100,000 in “soft costs” for the design of the expansion has been spent, Baillie said.

Organizations: Treasury Board

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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  • Realistic
    January 25, 2013 - 13:09

    “I think Jamie has a misunderstanding of the project,” Jennex said. Well Ramona, seems that Jamie has a better understanding of something that is in your own portfolio than you do. Where are they going to put these extra seats - up in the rafters? As it is now there are spectator feet inside the basketball court - hardly safe for spectators or players. Throw in the River Hebert clustersquabble (what they're going through is just altogether sad) and you've got government incompetence at its worst, plain and simple.

  • tom
    January 24, 2013 - 06:17

    Hmmmm how can government say it's an expansion when they are going to do it in the "existing space." sounds like a renovation. And if you put more seats in same space, means less gymnasium space. Logic, gone out the window.

  • David Le Blanc
    January 23, 2013 - 16:44

    In the Amherst Daily News on Oct.11 2012 Ramona Jennex announced tenders for the River Hebert School. The tender was to be called in November and the project would be completed late fall of 2013 . It is now late January and there have been no tenders called yet. I think it is time for Dexter to ask her to leave this position. If my boss caught me in as lie I would loose my job. how can we believe anything her or the NDP government say. As a person who lives in River Hebert all I can tell the people of Springhill, is you should not put much faith in what she tells you.