Some parents in Cumberland County are upset their children will be returning to a half-demolished school this fall.

The province paid for the original section of River Hebert District High School, built just after the Second World War, to be demolished last winter, but refused to approve reconstruction because the bids were over budget.

Now the 100 students who attend River Hebert District High School will head to a building next month that has yet to receive the multi-million dollar facelift the provincial government promised three years ago.

"It's embarrassing to see it looking like that," said Helen Sims a mother of two children heading into grades 11 and 8.

Sims said there are tarps covering sections of the walls and bags hanging out of the windows to prevent dust.  

'It's embarrassing to see it looking like that'—Helen Sims

"It's a disgrace to think that our children are going to high school there. I mean you drive around other areas and they have either new schools or renovated schools and I mean they've just left it. And I don't know if it's even safe for the kids to be in or not, but it just looks terrible. It just really pulls the community down."

The province and the school board are trying to figure out why the project ran over budget.

"Right now the state of the high school is pretty sad," said Coun. John Reid.

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River Hebert District High School pictured in April 2010 before demolition (CBC)

 

"The more it's delayed the more it's going to cost. I don't know why the project went over, but the thing is postponing and postponing the solution is only going keep driving the cost up," said Reid.

Debbie Buott-Matheson of the Chignecto-Central School Board said she can empathize with parents' frustrations.

"We understand the frustration. We're not happy with it. We want to see the project move forward. We know the province does too," she said.   "So hang with us. Hold tight. We are going to get this done. It is going to happen. And we are moving as quickly as we can to make that a reality.

Buott-Matheson said there will be enough space for students in September.

They will be housed in sections of the building built in 1955 and 1969.