Plan to re­place ag­ing school moves along

Land pur­chase fi­nal­ized for new Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

It ap­pears Bay Roberts is one step closer to the open­ing of a new pri­mary school.

Re­cently the land ac­qui­si­tion process fin­ished for the site where a school will be built to re­place Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary. That school is now more than 60 years old.

Back in April when the 2015 pro­vin­cial bud­get was an­nounced, Port de Grave MHA Glenn Littlejohn said the site had been se­lected but it could not be an­nounced be­cause the sale had yet to go through.

The school will be lo­cated steps away from where the cur­rent Amal­ga­mated Academy is lo­cated on Eric Dawe Drive. This will place all three of the town’s schools — which also in­cludes As­cen­sion Col­le­giate — within min­utes of each other as well as the Wil­bur Sparkes Recre­ation Com­plex.

“This is the first big domino to fall for the pro­ject. Once the land was ac­quired, the other phases of the pro­ject can start,” he said. “Now the en­gi­neer­ing will start and the ac­tual de­sign of the build­ing will be­gin. “

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood wel­comes the news of the land ac­qui­si­tion. He has been at the heart of the pur­suit of the new school, along with Littlejohn, since get­ting in­volved in coun­cil sev­eral years ago. In fact, the MHA has been push­ing for a new school for the past decade since his time on coun­cil.

“It is an ideal lo­ca­tion,” said Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood. “I’m cer­tainly pleased to hear that. The new school is first on the pri­or­ity list.”

Over the past cou­ple of year, Bay Roberts has been in­stalling side­walks and other safety mea­sures in an­tic­i­pa­tion the land ear­marked for the pro­ject would in fact be used.

In the 2015 pro­vin­cial bud­get, the new school in Bay Roberts was men­tioned among com­mu­ni­ties set to ben­e­fit from $65.2 mil­lion in spend­ing on on­go­ing school in­fra­struc­ture pro­ject. Some $2-mil­lion was ear­marked for the fa­cil­ity.

In 2014, gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion to re­place the ag­ing school was an­nounced as a part of some $128 mil­lion al­lo­cated for ed­u­ca­tional in­fra­struc­ture in the province.

“The faster the ground­work and the faster that the ac­tual build­ing it­self starts to go up, the bet­ter it will be for the chil­dren it will serve,” said Wood.

For the last num­ber of years, class­room sizes at Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary have in­creased, which made it nec­es­sary for the school to be re­placed.

“Un­for­tu­nately, there was some de­lays,” said Littlejohn, speak­ing on the time be­tween the ini­tial an­nounce­ment and now. “The de­lays were longer than any of us would have liked, but those things hap­pen from time-to-time. The school board and the pro­pri­etor took longer than I would have liked to get it done, but it’s done. “So, now we can pro­ceed.” Littlejohn an­tic­i­pates that within the next cou­ple of weeks sig­nage let­ting the public know of the lo­ca­tion will start pop­ping up and if ev­ery­thing goes smoothly, work will be­gin on en­trances and land prepa­ra­tion.

“The sooner, the bet­ter,” said Wood of con­struc­tion. “I’m de­lighted to hear that, now let’s get the ball rolling, let’s get the ground cleared and let’s start putting up the mor­tar and the bricks.”

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

A land purc­ahse was re­cently fi­nal­ized for the site of a school to re­place Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary in Bay Roberts. Work will now be­gin on the phys­i­cal de­sign and site prepa­ra­tion.

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