New Moncton High location announced

Education Minister Jody Carr announced a new Moncton high school will be built on the Royal Oaks site, replacing the 75-year-old structure that was closed last fall.

Education Minister Jody Carr announced a new Moncton High School will be built on the Royal Oaks site, replacing the 75-year-old structure that was closed last fall.

Carr called the site selection of the Royal Oaks subdivision off of Elmwood Drive a "bold response" to the needs articulated by Moncton High students and different community groups.

"This new facility will offer students a safe, modern and dynamic learning environment in a part of the city expected to experience considerable future growth," Carr said in a statement.

Carr was forced to close the school last fall over environmental and safety concerns and scatter its 1,300 students to different city schools for the remainder of the year.

The provincial government has announced that it will put $2 million into repairs to make Moncton High School safe for reopening in September.

The provincial government intends to have the new school ready for students in 2013.

The government scouted more than 20 potential sites before choosing Royal Oaks.

The location, the amount of green space and fact the Royal Oaks developer was willing to commit to the restoration of the existing Moncton High School, were listed as factors in the decision.

The Department of Supply and Services will issue a tender for the construction of the new school.

Harry Doyle, the chair of the District 2 Education Council, said in a statement the local district can now move ahead with other aspects of the project. 

"Today's announcement means that students can look forward to a new school in September 2013 and the community can look forward to the preservation of a wonderful heritage property that means so much to so many," Doyle said.

The fate of the existing building has been a source of contention.

Roughly 100 people rallied  in June to save the structure. The rally was organized by the City of Moncton's Heritage Preservation Review Board.

In 2009, the Heritage Canada Foundation put Moncton High School on its list of top-10 endangered heritage properties. It called the building 'an outstanding example of Normandy Gothic Revival-style architecture,' with arched bays, massive wood entrance doors, carvings, and vaulted plaster ceilings.

Coun. Paulette Theriault said at the time of June's rally, there was a concern the provincial government would not consult the community on the building's fate.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams said the government will work with the city as the project moves forward.

"We understand the historical significance of Moncton High School to the community," Williams said in a statement.

"That is why our goal has been to work with the community on solutions that would see this heritage building preserved."