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Derek O'Brien is the superintendent of the Anglophone South School District. Image: Brad Perry

Superintendent welcomes community hub in new Saint John school

By Brad Perry Apr 22, 2024 | 6:04 AM

Community will be a big part of the new K-5 school planned for the north end of Saint John.

On Friday, the province announced just over $12 million to pilot a community hub in the school.

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

The announcement came as welcome news for many, including Derek O’Brien, the superintendent of the Anglophone South School District.

“In the past, we’ve been able to provide community space because of declining enrollment and we’ve had space in schools, but that space is disappearing, so this will be committed space for the community hub,” O’Brien told reporters after Friday’s announcement.

O’Brien noted that having community partners be part of the school community is beneficial for students.

RELATED: $12M for community hub at north end Saint John school

The new school, to be built on the former Crescent Valley School site, will replace the aging Hazen White-St. Francis School and Centennial School.

Education officials said the school is now anticipated to open in September 2027, one year later than initially planned.

A department spokesperson said the delay is due to the additional work needed to integrate the community hub into the design.

“The design is already in the works and so we know that that’s happening. The site’s being prepared for the north end school now so we’re excited about that,” said O’Brien.

The superintendent said each of the existing schools has around 180 students and the new school will be able to accommodate up to 520 students.

With the two existing schools more than 55 years old, O’Brien noted it has become more expensive and difficult to maintain them.

As for what will happen with those schools once the new facility opens, the superintendent said the district may still have use for them.

“That’s something we do need to explore because the additional students also causes some additional needs in the district that way,” he said.

“But then what will happen is that we will turn those over probably to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure who will look after the buildings after that.”