Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


The community's vision for a new school in the central peninsula can be seen in this architectural rendering. Image: Submitted/Envision Saint John

$7.5M community hub for new Saint John school

By Brad Perry Jun 30, 2023 | 3:04 PM

A new school planned for Saint John’s central peninsula will be home to a community hub.

Education Minister Bill Hogan announced $7.5 million over two years for the pilot project on Friday.

“It’s fair to say that this will have a transformational effect on the lives of families who call the central peninsula home by giving them access to the services that they need to succeed,” Hogan said during a news conference.

The hub could include childcare spaces, after-school programs, and spaces for community partners.

Many community partners have been pushing for this concept for the past several — something Hogan acknowledged in his remarks.

“Our decision to move ahead with this project and provide funding as a pilot project reflects the unique reality of the neighbourhood as one of Saint John’s most diverse and fastest-growing areas,” said Hogan.

In December, the province unveiled its plans to build a new K-8 school in Rainbow Park.

The school, which will accommodate about 450 students, will replace both Prince Charles and St. John the Baptist/King Edward schools.

Several parcels of land had to be acquired around Rainbow Park as part of the project. Hogan said to his knowledge, all of that work has been completed.

“We believe the services and opportunities the community hub will provide are essential and it will become a model for how schools can be – not only a place of learning – but the heart of a community, said Derek O’Brien, superintendent of the Anglophone South School District.

“This investment will have a measurable impact, not only on students and early learners, but their families and the entire south end community.”

In April, Saint John council sent a letter to the premier asking for the province to fund community hubs at the new central peninsula school and at the new K-5 school in the north end that will replace Hazen White-St. Francis and Centennial schools.

The existing schools have a community hub model which brings additional early learning, after-school, parenting support and poverty reduction programming into the schools.

It is seen as a unique and critical approach for these communities, where poverty rates are well above the provincial average.

“There’s a different reality that these children are facing in our neighbourhoods, unfortunately, so there’s additional support that’s needed,” said David Dobbelsteyn, acting director of growth and community planning.

Dobbelsteyn said not building any hubs in the new schools would create a “significant social cost” to the communities they serve.

When asked about having a community hub in the new north end school, the education minister did not rule it out.

“In the construction of the other school, we’re going to make sure that there’s space to add a community hub to the school,” said Hogan. “I think it’s going to be extremely successful and I know that that area of the city could use the same services as this area.”

Officials expect the new central peninsula school will cost just over $38 million. The new school and community hub are expected to open in September 2026.


Leave a Reply