High school to open in Eastern Passage

The government of Nova Scotia is spending $15 million to reconfigure an existing school in Eastern Passage into a new high school for the community.

Premier also announces Skilled Trades Centre for Cole Harbour District High

The government of Nova Scotia plans to spend $15 million to reconfigure an existing school in Eastern Passage into a new high school for the community. 

Grade 10 to 12 students from Eastern Passage now attend Cole Harbour District High School.

Premier Darrell Dexter also announced a $10 million investment in a state-of-the-art Skilled Trades Centre, and other upgrades, for Cole Harbour District High School.

But the Halifax Regional School Board said the Eastern Passage project was not a school it needed, or even wanted.

"Really, I don't know why we're building this extra capacity when we've been told to cut down our capacity," said board member David Finlayson.

"We've just been through a very painful process with a bunch of different school reviews and those communities are still suffering from that whole process. And now we get jumped over by their plan."

The HRSB recently announced it would close two schools.

The premier said bringing a high school to Eastern Passage is necessary in order to accommodate the construction of the centre at Cole Harbour High.

Dexter made the announcements at Seaside Elementary School Monday. He was joined by Education Minister Ramona Jennex,  Halifax Regional School Board members, students, parents and members of the community.

"This investment will help students from Eastern Passage stay in Eastern Passage for their whole education," Dexter said in a release.

"I know this is important to families in this community, and I am pleased that our investment in skilled trades creates the opportunity to make that possible."

Creating the new school could involve an addition and renovations to one or more of the existing schools in the area.

Eastern Passage residents have been lobbying for a high school for years.

"It's great knowing that our children will have the chance to go to high school in the community," Chris Peters, an Eastern Passage parent, said. "There are many families who have been hoping for this good news for a while."

High school classes may be offered in Eastern Passage starting in September 2014.

Dexter said the centre at Cole Habour High will offer the new manufacturing trades course that is linked to shipbuilding.

The new centre will help meet the needs of the hundreds of students across Halifax Regional Municipality eager to take part in the skilled trades courses, he said.  

"The $25 billion shipbuilding contract is an economic game changer and we are making strategic investments today to ensure Nova Scotians are ready to take advantage of tomorrow's opportunities," Dexter said.