Nova Scotia

St. Patrick's High School demolition costs rising

The estimated cost of demolishing the old St. Patrick’s High School in Halifax is now a $1 million more than the city had budgeted.

Built in 1955, the building has asbestos tiles and insulation, mould, mercury and lead

Built in 1955, the St. Patrick's High School building has asbestos tiles and insulation throughout. There's also mould, mercury and lead in the building. (CBC)

The estimated cost of demolishing the old St. Patrick’s High School in Halifax is now $1 million more than the city budgeted.

Closed in 2007, city staff had originally set aside $3.5 million to tear the building down and clean it up to provincial standards. A consultant now puts that amount at least $4.5 million.

The councillor for the district, Jennifer Watts, says there isn’t much that can be done to change those numbers.

"The costs of demolition are going be what they're going be and we've already approved the direction of that,” she said.

Karla Nicholson with the Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association says business owners see the potential.

"Everybody on this street is very anxious to get this building torn down and to see what can be built here,” she says.

"We're hoping it can be a state-of-the-art building here similar to the library on Spring Garden Road."

Environmental clean up needs to be done before the building comes down.

Karla Nicholson with the Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association says they all see potential in the site. (CBC)

Built in 1955, the former school has asbestos tiles and insulation throughout. There's also mould, mercury and lead in the building.

Watts says she's concerned about the oil on site.

"I think particularly with some of the leakages of some of the fuel and hydraulic oil that have been happening have raised further concerns," she said. “It's just going take some time and some careful work to clean that up."

Hydraulic oil from the elevator has seeped into the nearby groundwater and creosote from the chimney has made it to the boiler room floor.

Nicholson says the increased cost is unfortunate.

"None of us want to hear that it will cost taxpayers more," she said. "On the other hand, it’s costing $400,000 a year just to keep it up with lights and security, so we feel within two and a half years that cost would pay for itself."

Halifax council will vote in two weeks on whether to go ahead with demolition now or next year.

The city expects to easily recover the millions of dollars spent on demolition and remediation when it puts the property up for sale.

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