GUYSBOROUGH: Construction projects will soon be underway at two schools within the Strait regional school board (SRSB).

A tender for the amount of $597,149 has been awarded to Dora Construction Management Limited for the construction of the new Skilled Trades Centre at Richmond Education Centre/Academy. Work began on the structure in early January.

“We’re very pleased that the tender has been awarded and our contractor has started the work onsite,” said Paul Landry, acting director of operations for the SRSB. “We’re currently in the building phase of the project and it’s going along quite well.”

Last April, the province announced funding for seven new Skilled Trades Centres to be constructed across the province. The new structure at Richmond Education Centre will be the SRSB’s third stand-alone Skilled Trades Centre.

Landry says the project is on schedule and he hopes to have it completed by late March.

“Weather would be a contributing factor to that certainly, but we’re pretty confident that the schedule will be met at the end of March,” he said.

The facility will provide a workspace for high school students to gain hands-on exposure to the skilled trades, and Landry said the project will improve learning opportunities for students at the school.

“We’re very appreciative of being able to have that facility available to our students and to be able to offer that programming to our students in the area,” Landry said.

Work is also being carried out at Fanning Education Centre/Canso Academy following leaks in the school’s roof that led to an early dismissal for students on February 5.

“It was determined at that time that there was a large build-up of snow and ice on the roof as well as a large volume of rain that day it took place, and it really increased throughout the day,” said Landry. “So we made the decision at that point to close the school almost mid-day.”

Landry said they were able to contain the leaks and the school was open again the following day with a roofing contractor onsite to assess the damage. Landry said patching is currently taking place to the roof and roof drains.

Landry said he was not sure what the repairs will cost, but said the current focus is on ensuring the school is safe and there are no further leaks. He added that the school is slated for more extensive repairs in the near future. The board has already approved significant upgrades to the school’s exterior to take place when weather improves in the spring. The majority of the work will include siding replacement and roof repair.