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June 24, 2009

Additions and Improvements Begin for Lester Pearson Memorial High

A contract to renovate and extend Lester Pearson Memorial High in Wesleyville has been awarded and work is set to start shortly that will see a number of improvements made to the school. The Honourable Darin King, Minister of Education, said today that the Provincial Government is investing approximately $1.6 million for the improvements, with the public tender being awarded to Granco Construction in Gander.

"This is one of the many infrastructure-related projects currently underway in schools throughout Newfoundland and Labrador," said Minister King. "Despite the global economic climate, the Provincial Government is in a position to tender projects this year totalling $1.6 billion on everything from hospitals to roads to ferries. Schools are also reaping the benefits of our economic and infrastructure strategies, as evidenced by the latest tender for Lester Pearson Memorial High."

The extension includes the addition of three new classrooms, a new fitness centre and upgrades to the kitchen/cafeteria in support of the Provincial Government�s Healthy Students Healthy Schools initiative. The skilled trades suite will also receive an upgrade, allowing the school to offer more courses in the $13 million Futures in Skilled Trades and Technology program. As a result, more students will be able to take advantage of the courses.

"I am extremely pleased to see the funding approved and contract awarded for the renovations and extension to Lester Pearson Memorial High," said Harry Harding, MHA for Bonavista North. "This will be a tremendous boost to the local economy and to those looking for employment but most important of all to our youth who will be provided the opportunity to further enhance their skills and abilities."

The Provincial Government allocated $121.5 million this year through Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation for new school construction, renovations, maintenance and repairs. This represents an increase of over $100 million since 2004. Since that time, funding has been allocated for approximately 500 projects, including over 200 roofing projects and 190 building envelope projects, such as the replacement of windows and siding. In addition, work is moving forward at a rapid pace on the construction of several new schools, including two K-6 facilities in Paradise, as well as new buildings in L�Anse au Loup, Baie Verte, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Placentia, Port Hope Simpson, Port Saunders and Torbay. In addition, Budget 2009 announced new facilities to replace St. Teresa�s in St. John�s and Davis Elementary in Carbonear. These projects are in the initial planning stage.

"There is a tremendous amount of work already completed, underway or being planned in schools across the province," said Minister King. "This level of activity is truly unprecedented and reflects our commitment to addressing maintenance issues and improving the physical condition of our schools. I am confident students, teachers, staff and indeed the entire school community of Lester Pearson Memorial High will be pleased with the improvements this funding will bring to their school."

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Media contacts:

Jacquelyn Howard
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 689-2624
Donna Ivey
Communications Manager
Government Members� Office
709-729-0898, 697-1424

2009 06 24                                                    9:50 a.m.

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