River Hebert received a commitment from the province on Friday to complete its stalled school project.
RIVER HEBERT – Tenders for the completion of the River Hebert high school will go out in less than two weeks.
Education and Early Childhood Development Deputy Ministers Carole Olson left no doubt what the department’s intentions are when meeting with the general public today after reviewing the condition of the school, which has remained incomplete after budget overruns halted the project to revamp the school into a P-12.
“What I want to be able to announce today, is that the government of Nova Scotia is sending a letter guaranteeing the renovations will be done after the elction,” Olson said.
Olson and Paul LaFleche, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure renewal landed in River Hebert met with the public at the River Hebert Legion to update the public on the project and offer a probable timeline to have the school finished by September 2015. A full house had come to the legion to learn about the school’s fate and the positive comments from both Olson and LaFleche drew applause from the community that has waited two school years for the work to be completed.
With letters of commitment from the three major party leaders – NDP Darrel Dexter, Progressive Conservative Jamie Baillie and Liberal Stephen McNeil – the project is expected to run smoother now that the tendering process doesn’t have to go through the school board before moving to the department’s desk, but LaFleche cautioned the audience about hoping for tight deadlines. Getting the job done right the first time instead of cutting corners to meet a finite deadline could be disadvantageous.
“Once the tender goes out you’re pretty sure o get the job done,” LaFleche said. But to hold us to a date to finish is not in your best interest.”
When the call for tenders is issued, it takes approximately five weeks – an average amount of time for any project valued more than $8 million. An extension during the tendering process would only be granted if the department received a number of requests from the contractors for more time. Once a tender is chosen, it could take a couple of weeks before the community sees boots on the ground, LaFleche said.
Following the meeting, residents were optomistic the era of delays is over.
“I’m more positive than I had,” resident Kevin Breau said after the meeting. “We have more answers than anything we had before.”
The actual cost of the renovations will remain disclosed, Olson said, until the tendering process is completed. It’s a common practice to not disclose the information as to not impact the tendering process.