Nova Scotia

Location of new J.L. Ilsley High School now in education minister's hands

The Halifax Regional School Board voted Wednesday to send three location proposals to Nova Scotia's education minister.

Site of current school in the running to be the location of the new building

Nova Scotia's education minister will decide on the new high school's location. (CBC)

Plans to replace J.L. Ilsley High School in Spryfield, N.S., are moving forward after the Halifax Regional School Board voted Wednesday to send three location proposals to Nova Scotia's education minister for final approval.

The three sites the province will choose from are:

  • The site of the current J.L. Ilsley High School at 33 Sylvia Avenue.
  • McIntosh Estates, located behind the 500 block of Herring Cove Road.
  • An area adjacent to the Graves-Oakley Memorial Park on Leiblin Drive.

​"One of the guiding principles was to look at locations within a five-kilometre radius of the existing school site and to look within where the bulk of the population was in the catchment area," Ron Heiman, the director of operations services for the Halifax Regional School Board, said during his presentation.

'A great thing for Spryfield'

Linda MacKay, the school board member for the area where the new school will go, said she was pleased to see the motion move forward quickly. The entire matter was discussed in under 10 minutes.

"I think it's a great thing for Spryfield and all of the catchment area for J.L. Ilsley," said MacKay.

Parents and students at J.L. Ilsley have been lobbying for years for major renovations because of leaks throughout the building and pieces of cinder block falling in the gym.

Although the education minister gets final approval of where the building goes, MacKay said the site of the current school or the area across from Graves-Oakley Memorial Park would be her top picks.

MacKay said the current location is central, but said the spot by Graves-Oakley Memorial Park is great because it would offer access to a baseball field.

Controversial school

Plans to replace the current school were announced in January by Halifax Atlantic MLA Brendan Maguire and Halifax Armdale MLA Lena Diab in a Facebook video.

The reaction was mixed, with people from Spryfield saying the new school is great news, while others, including a former school board member, said a replacement wasn't necessary. 

Eastern Shore parents told CBC News in February they were shocked to learn J.L. Ilsley was going to be replaced before Eastern Shore District High School, a 52-year-old building that needs to have water trucked in three times a day.

Similar sentiments were echoed in Glace Bay, where calls were amplified to replace aging schools in the area. 

Heiman noted the J.L. Ilsley site selection committee looked at more than just the three proposed locations.

Details on when the school will open have not yet been finalized.


Anjuli Patil


Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.