West Highlands two months behind schedule

Darrell Cole
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School to be ready for November

Construction of the new West Highlands Elementary is about two months behind schedule.

Construction of the new West Highlands Elementary is about two months behind schedule. The delay is primarily because an enhanced gymnasium has changed the design of the school.

AMHERST – It appears as though the opening of the new West Highland Elementary is going to be a little later than expected.

While the new school was supposed to be ready for occupancy in September, it appears as though it will be November before construction is complete.

“Government felt it was important that the community have time to give input into the design of the school. The municipality wanted some enhancements and the time it took for that process to be completed took longer than expected,” Education Department spokesman Dan Harrison said. “The enhancements meant changes to the design of the school. The effect may be that the completion date will be slightly later than expected.”

Last fall, the West Highlands school advisory committee launched a $181,000 fundraising campaign to fund an enhanced gymnasium in the school.

The larger gymnasium would allow for fixed seating for concerts, sports and other community events.

The town helped kick off the campaign by providing $35,4000 – the same amount that was committed to the gym enhancement at Spring Street Academy.

Harrison said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is working with the contractor, designer and the rest of the project team to try to make up some of the tie lost.

“We understand how important the new school is for the staff, students and the community. That’s why we are working to have the school completed at the earliest possible date while building a modern learning environment that is of the highest quality for the students and the community,” Harrison said.

While things are quiet at the Hickman Street property, Harrison said a lot of work is continuing behind the scenes. The walls for the school are precast concrete and are being constructed offsite. Harrison said they should soon be delivered to the construction site.

“They will then be put in place to create the exterior of the school building,” he said. “Once they are put in place, much activity will take place on site as the roof and the inside of the building are created.”

The 42,000-square-foot school will house 275 students and be built in an L-shape. It will be a two-storey facility.

It will replace the existing West Highlands Elementary that opened in 1912.


Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Education Department, West Highlands school, Street Academy

Geographic location: Hickman Street

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Recent comments

  • K. Knierim
    January 28, 2014 - 23:49

    It is a shame that these old historic buildings are being demolished in Amherst. We are losing part of our heritage to pass on to our children. Where I live now in Aurora Ont., buildings designated of historical significance have to be preserved. .. unless they are completely beyond repair . I am not aware of the process behind the decision that a whole new structure had to be built but it still is a real loss in a historic and cultural sense.

  • Dave
    January 27, 2014 - 16:35

    The people of Amherst are lucky!! The school in River Hebert is only 4 years behind. However they have moved some equipment in to start the job.