Still no tender call two years after province announced new Placentia school
Frustration is mounting in the Placentia area over the progress of constructing a new high school in the town, says Mayor Bill Hogan.
"It's becoming a major concern," Hogan said Friday.
Officials with the Department of Education, however, said progress is being made and a tender will be issued "within the next few months."
In a statement e-mailed to The Telegram, Jacquelyn Howard, a spokeswoman for the department, said the floor plan has been accepted by the community, school council and officials with the Eastern School District, and engineering work is now being completed.
She said the school is expected to be ready by the fall of 2010.
It's been more than two years since high-ranking government officials came to town and made a splash about the decision to build a new school, which will replace Laval high.
Vale Inco Newfoundland and Labrador, the company constructing a new commercial nickel processing plant in nearby Long Harbour, also announced it would contribute $1.8 million for recreational facilities at the school.
Education Minister Joan Burke said at the time the school would be ready by 2009, and would cost "at least $8 million."
That figure has since increased by several million dollars because of a sharp rise in labour costs and construction materials.
Howard said completion dates are estimates only and "are fluid depending on how long different aspects of the process may take to complete."
She would not provide cost estimates because it may influence the upcoming tender process.
Hogan is not happy the school will be delayed by a year.
"At the time, it was supposed to be No. 1 on the school board's priority list. Now it's fallen behind Torbay and Paradise because we have no political clout," Hogan complained.
A wing of the existing building has been demolished to make way for the new structure, and students are occupying the remaining section.
Hogan said site selection took a considerable amount of time, and he's "thoroughly disappointed" that more hasn't been done.
Darrin Pike, chief executive officer with the Eastern School District, said officials with the board have been working collaboratively to expedite the project.
"We look forward to seeing the start of construction once tenders have been awarded," he stated.