PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait regional school board (SRSB) has taken the first steps towards a Skilled Trades Centre at Richmond Education Centre/Academy in Louisdale.

The School Steering Team (SST) for the project met for the first time in October, and the new centre is expected to be completed by September of 2018.

“We’re very confident that we’ll have the facility ready for students at that point,” said Paul Landry, director of operations for the SRSB following the board’s monthly meeting on November 1.

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“We’re moving forward with the final details of the design phase… After that phase is completed, which should be very shortly, the project will go to tender, and then we’ll proceed from there. The award of the tender will take place and the construction phase of the project will begin.”

In April, the provincial government announced that seven new Skilled Trades Centres would be constructed at schools across the Nova Scotia, including Richmond Education Centre, as part of the province’s Capital Plan. The facilities provide a workspace for high school students to gain hands-on exposure to the skilled trades. The new centre in Louisdale will offer programming in both construction and manufacturing.

As director of operations, Landry is overseeing the project, in collaboration with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

“Things seem to be on schedule at this point,” said Landry, adding that he hopes to break ground as soon as possible.

Richmond Education Centre/Academy will be the third school in the SRSB to receive a Skilled Trades Centre, after Dalbrae Academy and Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School. Like the other two facilities, the newest Skilled Trades Centre will be a standalone structure, but it will be slightly larger to allow more room for storage.

The SST for the project met on October 11 and 25. The team reviewed the design and location for the plans to ensure that they met the needs of the school and community. Landry said the team is still working on estimates for the cost of the project.

“Those final details right now are still being determined with the final details of the design. So, we should have more information on that… in the future,” added Landry.