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Province to buy Amherst Regional High School from private owner

Amherst Regional High School
Amherst Regional High School

AMHERST, N.S. – The province is buying Amherst Regional High School.

One of the P-3 schools built under a public-private partnership in the late 1990s, ARHS is one of 11 schools that the government is exercising its contractual right to buy schools from OMERS and Ashford Investments when the leases expire in November 2020.

One of the P-3 schools built under a public-private partnership in the late 1990s, ARHS is one of 11 schools that the government is exercising its contractual right to buy schools from OMERS and Ashford Investments when the leases expire in November 2020.

ARHS was built by Ashford Investments.

The schools are owned OMERS and Ashford Investments.

In order to protect the right to purchase at prices in the existing agreement, government was required to give notice to purchase, surrender or extend the lease of 13 schools by Nov. 30, 2016.

The purchase price for the 11 schools is $50.5 million.

Chignecto-Central Regional School Board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson said the transfer will be virtually unnoticeable by students and staff when it happens.

“Basically maintenance and care for the school would be transferred over to the board, but that’s still several years away and we have lots of time to prepare,” Buott-Matheson said.

The schools were developed in partnership by BPC Penco (Nova Scotia) Inc., a portfolio company of OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) and Ashford Investments.

"The Cape Breton, Strait Regional, South Shore, and Chignecto-Central school boards identified these schools as ones that need to stay open and continue to provide a good learning environment for students living in the surrounding communities," Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey.

"As in an earlier agreement with Scotia Learning Centres, purchasing is more affordable than extending the leases and provides the added benefit of ownership while providing a long-term solution to providing schools for these areas."

The province also announced its intention to surrender rights to two schools in Sydney, Harbourside Elementary School and Sherwood Park Education Centre. After an extensive review process the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board voted to close the two schools when the leases expire.

The province earlier reached an agreement with OMERS to extend the notification date until July 2017 on its decision for three other schools in the Strait area, Bayview Education Centre in Port Hood, Antigonish Education Centre, and Dalbrae Academy in Mabou.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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