Consultant terminated by school board
River Hebert's stalled high school project could be delayed some more after the school board terminated the consultant's involvement.
RIVER HEBERT – The stalled renovation project at River Hebert District High School looks like it’s heading for a longer delay after the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board terminated consultants Connor Architects & Planners from further involvement in the project.
“Notice has been provided to Connor Architects & Planners that its involvement in this project is being terminated and that it will no longer be associated with this project,” the board’s director of operations Herb Steeves said in a letter to members of the school steering team that was obtained Tuesday by the Amherst Daily News. “The decision to end our relationship with Connor Architects was not undertaken lightly. The primary consultant exhibited an ongoing inability to meet project deadlines. This has delayed the development of the request for proposals for the next construction phase.”
Connor Architects was responsible as the primary consultant for developing space allocation, design specifications and to oversee construction management phases of the project.
Board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson said moving forward the board hopes to use a firm that is experienced with the project or has experience with similar projects so it can pick up where Connor Architects has left off.
While not a restart of the RFP process, she said, it could cause a delay as the new firm gets familiarized with the work completed to date and works through various issues.
Buott-Matheson is hopeful the delay will be days or a few weeks and not months for a project which has been idle since January 2012 when a tender call came in much higher than what the province had budgeted.
Steering team committee member and area municipal councillor Mike McLellan said community members are beyond frustrated with the continued delays and there are lingering doubts if it will ever be completed.
“The buck is being passed back and forth and the community can’t get a straight answer,” McLellan said. “It’s frustrating.”
McLellan said that while the board and province continue to reassure residents the project will be completed, he said the two-year anniversary of its start is approaching with no timeline on when it will be finished.
“I know the board and the province have been very good at saying there are no plans to not finish the school, but the longer this goes on the more there will be doubts in the community,” he said. “I was still in school when they closed Joggins school and even though we were sent to River Hebert it was quite a change. Imagine having to send everyone to Amherst. The community here won’t stand for it. This is just not right.”