Gordon McFadyen, director of school board operations for the province, goes over the new school plans with some Souris residents. (Brendan Elliott/CBC)

Architectural drawings for a new K-12 school in eastern P.E.I. were unveiled Thursday night, and many parents who reviewed the plans were upset.

"It's official now. The dream and the promises of the government for us to get a new school is officially over," said Daryl MacKenzie, summing what many at the unveiling had to say.

The province is spending $20 million on the project, but many community members are upset because they had been promised a new school at a new location. Instead, they're getting a renovation the current high school and a partial rebuild on adjacent land.

The government says at $24 million, an entirely new school would be too expensive.

Safety issues raised

People attending the unveiling also had an issue with the design as presented.

The property is cut in two by the second-busiest street in town, with the school on one side and parking lot on the other. Susan McInnis called that an accident waiting to happen.

"When the kids are picked up in the evenings, you're going to have all nine buses in the parking lot," the parent said. "You're going to have upwards of 300 children all trying to exit the school at the same time. Somebody is going to get hurt."

Education Minister Alan McIsaac said he asked the town to close the road, but said council wants it to remain open. Still, he believes appropriate safety measures will be in place.

"I think safety will be as good here as in any other school. There are places where they have to cross roads," McIsaac said. "We'd love to have the street closed but town council wants to keep it open so we'll work around that."

One of the reasons for the meeting was to get suggestions from the parents, McIsaac said, and some of those suggestions relating to safety could end up in the final plans.

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