RIVER HEBERT – There’s another delay with calling of tenders to complete renovations at River Hebert District High.
“We are working with the board to help resolve the issue with the contractor that is holding up the tender,” Education Department spokesman Dan Harrison said in an email to the Amherst Daily News. “The people of River Hebert must be disappointed but the department wants to assure them that this school remains a priority and funding for the project is protected.
“We want the school to provide the best education possible for the students and remain the heart of the community.”
After several months of waiting, River Hebert students, staff and parents thought their troubles were over when Education Minister Ramona Jennex announced in October that tenders for the stalled renovation project would be called in November.
The first tender on the school came in more than 45 per cent over budget and the province went to work with the contractor to overcome several issues.
Students have been attending classes in a half-finished school since September. The school will become a Primary to Grade 12 facility when completed.
It’s unknown what the issue is this time, but Chignecto-Central Regional School Board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson said it’s a major one.
“The second tender has not gone out yet because of some issues,” Buott-Matheson said. “It’s completely unexpected and something we are trying to work through with the Department of Education.”
Buott-Matheson understands concerns in the community and said the board is doing everything it can to move the project forward.
Former area county councillor John Reid sat on the project’s advisory committee, but has not heard a thing since the minister promised to call tenders. He said community members are more than impatient with the pace of the project.
“The community has the same questions it has always had, is this project going to get completed?” Reid said.
Reid said contractors have told the province there isn’t enough money in the project to complete it and he said the longer the wait lasts the more expensive it’s going to cost.
“We’re pushing two years now with this and the cost is going to be a lot more now than it was then,” he said. “The province needs to ante up with the money to finish this project because the longer it goes the more people are going to be afraid for the future of the school.”