Premier turns sod for new West Highlands Elementary
© Darrell Cole - Amherst Daily News
Premier Darrell Dexter (second left) speaks to Amherst Mayor Robert Small while town councillor Terry Rhindress and Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar look on. The premier turned the sod Monday for a new $11.1-million school to replace West Highlands.
AMHERST – Construction of a new West Highlands Elementary School moved a bit closer here Monday with a sod-turning ceremony on the site of the new multi-million facility that’s set to open in just over a year.
Premier Darrell Dexter joined area children, Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar, Amherst Mayor Robert Small and David Myles of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board in turning a piece of sod in the Lions Park on Hickman Street.
“This is the fulfillment of a project we were very much committed to and I’m happy to see it start. In the end I realize on any project there are always tensions at play, but when you get it done right in the end all that uncertainty pays off because you know you’ve done it right,” the premier said following the ceremony.
“This is about supplying the kind of school that’s going to create the most positive learning environment and the best results for children. That’s what we’re all about.”
Construction is expected to begin soon on the $11.1-million school that will replace the century-old West Highlands Elementary. The first classes are anticipated for September 2014.
The school will accommodate 275 students in Grades Primary to 6.
The 2.8-hectare property is in the middle of the school’s catchment area.
The premier said communities rely on schools for many reasons. They are places to learn, develop and grow relationships and bring the community together, he said.
“The province is putting children first and helping build stronger communities by opening new schools in communities that need them and renovating schools that still have life in them,” Dexter said.
Myles said the time has come for a new beginning for West Highlands.
“It is time for modern facilities that will give our children access to the education, social and physical opportunities they need,” Myles said. “A bright, clean, modern facility helps to support education by contributing to a positive school climate.
“Research continues to show that a positive school climate is one of the biggest factors for school success.”