Stratford working with 'a sense of urgency' to get high school built
Timing of project still in the hands of the provincial government
With funding renewed in the P.E.I. capital budget for a high school in Stratford, P.E.I., the town council is keen to break ground on the project.
This fall's provincial capital budget included $38 million for the school, the same amount included in the budget last year. Stratford's children are currently bused to Charlottetown schools after Grade 6.
"There is a sense of urgency there," said Coun. Jill Burridge, chair of the community campus committee overseeing the school project.
"Charlottetown Rural is overcapacity right now. And you know all the feeder schools into that are in growing communities. It's not going to back off anytime soon."
Burridge said every year a student spends in an overcrowded school is significant.
"We're working hard to ensure that they're not in this overcapacity situation for their entire educational experience. So at the end of the day that's what this is about," she said.
Developing a community centre
The town is still negotiating with landowners over two possible sites, and at this point, is not disclosing where they are. Once a site is secured, the town will move on to designing what it will all look like, which will partly depend on the topography of the land.
In 2018 the town released an extensive plan for a community campus that would include a high school, a junior high school, a sports arena and multiple sports fields. At this point money has only been secured for the high school, but Burridge expects the site will evolve over time.
"We will carve out certainly an area within the campus for a junior high for future development," said Burridge.
The timing for all of this is up to the province, she said, and the town is still waiting to hear exactly when the province intends to spend the $38 million in the budget for the school.
For the town right now, securing the land is the top priority.
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With files from Angela Walker