nb-moncton-high-school-220

The New Brunswick government is seeking a developer to find a new use for the historic Moncton High School building. (Marc Genuist/CBC)

The New Brunswick government is seeking developers to purchase and find a new use for the historic Moncton High School.

A new school is being built to replace the 77-year-old Moncton High School. Many people in the city have demanded the provincial government keep the heritage building.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams said the request for proposals that was issued is intended to preserve the building.

"We are excited about what this project will do to stimulate the local economy and preserve and promote the history of the high school building which will continue to have a key role in the community," Williams said in a statement.

The provincial government’s request is for a mixed-use project. The project is supposed to "promote community inclusion" and reflect the school’s historical significance to the city.

The department said the school could become a space for arts and culture, residential units, retail and commercial space or green space.

Proposals will be accepted until Sept. 18.

'An important project for the city'

The Gothic-style stone building, including the 1,200-seat theatre, must be preserved, according to the department.

The provincial government said consideration will be given to any proposal that will allow the theatre to be open to the community and used for public events.

"This is an important project for the city and the provincial government," Williams stated.

"We are looking for thoughtful and detailed proposals to make sure the school maintains a memorable presence and remains a vibrant cultural icon."

Williams said the provincial government consulted with Moncton, the Greater Moncton Planning District Commission and the Moncton Heritage Preservation Board before releasing the request for proposals.

Moncton High was closed in October 2010 over health and safety concerns and the school's 1,300 students were dispersed to other schools in the city.

It re-opened in September 2011 after extensive renovations.

Education Minister Jody Carr announced in December 2010 a new high school would be built to replace the 77-year-old school.

The new school will be constructed on the outskirts of the city near the Royal Oaks golf course.