County councillor talks to Jennex on Friday
© Jocelyn Turner - Amherst Daily News
Cumberland County councillor Mike McLellan says he has received assurances from Education Minister Ramona Jennex that the province intends to see the stalled renovation project at River Hebert high school finished.
RIVER HEBERT – River Hebert area municipal councillor Mike McLellan says he’s been reassured by Education Minister Ramona Jennex that the province is committed to completing renovations at the community’s school.
McLellan said he spoke to the minister early Friday and was told the money has been budgeted for the project and is waiting for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.
“The minister told me the school will be completed,” McLellan said. “She was surprised the tender was not called and the department is working with the school board to overcome the issues.”
McLellan said the minister told him that because of the delay it’s likely the project would not be completed until the fall of 2014. However, he feels that if the tender is called soon work can restart and some of the inconveniences being faced by students and staff can be minimized.
Students have been attending classes in the half-finished building since September. It’s believed the tender to complete the project came in $2 million more than the $6 million budgeted.
When completed, the new school will includes Grades Primary to 12.
After being stalled for several months when tenders came in at more than 40 per cent over budget, Jennex announced last October that tenders for the final phase of the renovation project would be called in November.
However, four months later the tender has not been called because of what the school called an issue with the tender.
McLellan said people in the community are afraid that the longer the project remains stalled the greater the chance of it not being completed and the school being closed.
“The people have had to fight for their school on so many occasions that there’s a fear they may have to do it again,” McLellan said. “It’s good to get assurances from the minister that the province is committed to finishing the school.”
Last Wednesday, Jennex told the Amherst Daily News she did not know the school tender had not been called. Renovation tenders, she said, are the responsibility of the school board while new schools, such as the one planned for West Highlands Elementary in Amherst, are the responsibility of the province.