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

Community hub will ‘change the south end’: Saint John councillor

By Brad Perry Jul 4, 2023 | 2:00 PM

A Saint John councillor says he is glad the planned central peninsula school will include a community hub.

On Friday, the province announced $7.5 million over two years for what they described as a pilot project.

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

Coun. Gerry Lowe, who represents the area, said the investment is critical for the community.

“It’ll change the south end. It won’t change it tomorrow or the next day, but eventually it will. It’s very needed,” Lowe said after the announcement.

Lowe said the hub is needed because poverty rates in the central peninsula are well above the provincial average.

RELATED: $7.5M community hub for new Saint John school

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.

Derek O’Brien, superintendent of the Anglophone South School District, said this new hub will be integral to the community.

“We need to bring a lot of the services into the schools so that our learners and their families have access and they have access in a building that they’re very familiar with,” said O’Brien.

While the hub model is a pilot project for now, O’Brien said he is “extremely optimistic” that there could be a similar hub in the new school planned for the north end.

The province is planning to replace Hazen White-St. Francis and Centennial schools with a new facility, although the location has not yet been announced.

New Brunswick’s education minister confirmed Friday that additional space will be built into the school in the event they decide to add a community hub.

“The community here in Saint John is not going to let this go and I think they’re going to continue to lobby very hard to make sure that this is an important component of that school as well,” said O’Brien.

Both schools are slated to be open in time for the 2026-27 school year.


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