What will the next 70 Years of Education Look Like in Sackville?
Tuesday, November 27th will offer an opportunity for all members of our community to voice their hopes and visions for the future of education in Sackville. The District Education Council (DEC) will be at Tantramar Regional High School to listen to public presentations and consider the closing of Marshview Middle School, based on its physical condition. This is where we look back on the many generations of Sackville children, teachers, staff and families who have walked the halls of that facility, played sports in the gymnasium, volunteered or attended a class or meeting. But after 70 years, we recognize that this structure has outlived its physical life, suffering from multiple infrastructure and health concerns, being located on property that has been red flagged under the Dept. of Environment toxic soil remediation plan, ventilation and water infiltration problems—all items that would cost millions of dollars to fix. All studies of the facility suggest that it is best to replace the building. This is the actual focus of the current Sustainability Study process, so an easy decision for the DEC to agree to. Marshview will likely be closed.
Sackville Schools 2020 is asking the DEC to support the idea that the community needs to be involved in any new school considerations, and that they recommend the building of a Community Learning Campus to the Minister of Education
Looking forward, the current Sustainability Study allows the DEC to recommend possible scenarios for future education facilities in Sackville to the government, and that is where it is critical to have members of our community present their vision for the future. The DEC has outlined four possible options: 1) Maintain the status quo; 2) Close Marshview Middle School and reconfigure Salem Elementary to a K-5 school and Tantramar High School to a 6 – 12 school; 3) Close Marshview Middle School and build a new K – 5 school and build a new 6 – 12 school; or 4) Consider a combination of items 2 and 3—or another option brought forward during the study.
Over the past three years, the Sackville Schools 2020 group of local citizens has been working with community members, the Town of Sackville, Mount Allison University and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in researching and imagining a new model for education in the province, starting right here in Sackville.
Sackville Schools 2020 is asking the DEC to support the idea that the community needs to be involved in any new school considerations, and that they recommend the building of a Community Learning Campus to the Minister of Education. This model would present an opportunity for Sackville educators, students, parents and others to design and build a new, community-based education complex. Under this proposal, community members would be consulted on the location of education and related community facilities (this is not the norm for the typical school building process). The shape, specific configurations and facilities would also be determined by the community.
The Community Learning Campus could:
Include a wide range of facilities and keep, move or replicate existing community assets, such as the Wetlands Centre.
Build modern, well-designed educational spaces integrated into the campus for all of the children in Sackville during the day.
Act as a community centre with shared facilities and services with a wide range of partners, such as the Town of Sackville and Mount Allison, Seniors College, and the School District.
Have some facilities, including sports facilities, that could be open to the community as a year-round, community managed facility in the evening, on weekends and during the summer. A true 24/7 model for the entire community.
Offer a revenue-generating, efficiently-run, year-round facility that operates as a non-profit (there are investors and facility developers already established and waiting to partner with us).
Be maintained and managed with more autonomy and local control over operations.
Create a social and economic development model that will attract families and businesses to Sackville, and truly promote educational quality for our current and future generations.
Community members are encouraged to come and voice their wishes for the future of education in Sackville. Our children deserve no less!
Check out our FAQ for more specific information about the Community Learning Campus vision. You can use our Template Letter or write your own to show the DEC you support this idea; please send letters to Harry Doyle, DEC chair, c/o Stephanie.Patterson@nbed.nb.ca.