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August 21, 2001


 Minister and chair of school board announce start of construction of two new K-12 schools

Judy Foote, Minister of Education and Travis Gillard, chair of the Northern Peninsula/Labrador South School District today announced the start of construction of new K-12 schools in the communities of Plum Point and Roddickton.

"In December,1998, funding was approved to build new schools for students served by schools in these two communities," said Minister Foote. "Today I am pleased to announce we are moving forward with the actual construction of these new facilities."

Tech Construction Ltd. of Corner Brook has been awarded the tender for construction of the school in Roddickton, and Pitman�s Enterprises of St. Paul�s will be the general contractor for the Plum Point project.

"In total, government has invested more than $10,000,000 in these two projects. The new school in Roddickton will cost approximately $4.6 million and the new school at Plum Point will cost about $5.4 million," said Minister Foote.

Mr. Gillard noted, "The board is pleased that contracts have been awarded and construction will begin shortly within the next couple of weeks. I am hopeful that the buildings can be closed in before winter. This should allow construction to continue throughout the winter months and make it possible to meet the planned opening in the 2002/03 school year for both schools.

"These projects are the result of two years of consultation and planning by staff of the school board, the Department of Education, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, and the project consultant and architects. The school board thanks all of our partners for the role they have played in this initiative and we look forward to seeing the results of their hard work as these modern, state-of-the-art facilities become a reality."

Site work has already been completed for both projects. The next phase, the actual construction of the buildings, will start shortly.

The new school at Roddickton is designed to accommodate 225 students in grades K-12, and will be more than 28,000 square feet in area. The new school at Plum Point is designed to accommodate 300 students in grades K-12, and will be more than 31,000 square feet in area.

These schools will be among the most modern and technically advanced schools in the province. Every classroom and instructional area will be fitted with computers which will be connected to each other through a local area network. Each school will have laboratories, a technology education area, a modern gymnasium, specially designed facilities for students with physical disabilities, a guidance centre, and a modern library resource centre. To ensure the comfort and safety of students and teachers who will learn and work in these schools, they will be fitted with a full mechanical ventilation system. The area around each school will be landscaped and each site will have a paved parking lot.

The board chair indicated that these schools are part of the board�s long term strategy for improved school facilities throughout the district. Mr. Gillard said, "Improved school facilities make it possible for the school board to consolidate services, replace older buildings, and continue to offer students a full range of programs in the face of declining enrolments. I hope that by providing state-of-the-art facilities, teachers look forward to coming to our school district and find it a rewarding place to work." Mr. Gillard noted that recently a new school was completed at Norman Bay, an extension and renovations were completed in Mountain Feild Academy, Forteau, and that funding has been approved for a new K-6 facility at Lanse au Loup. Construction of that school is expected to start next spring.

Minister Foote noted this latest expenditure brings to $12.7 million the amount government has provided to improve school facilities on the Northern Peninsula and in Labrador South since 1997. This includes funding for new schools, renovations, extensions and upgrading several existing facilities.

Minister Foote congratulated Mr. Gillard and the other volunteer trustees of the Northern Peninsula/Labrador South School Board for their vision and commitment to the students throughout the school district. "We look forward to working with them as they pursue these objectives. I would like to thank you, Mr. Gillard, and the other members of the board for your hard work and dedication. Through your efforts, the benefits of education reform continue to unfold."

Media contact:
Andrea Maunder, Department of Education, (709) 729-0048
Travis Gillard, Chair, Northern Peninsula/Labrador South School Board, (709) 456-2840

2001 08 21                                                    1:10 p.m.

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