The new high school for peninsular Halifax will open in September2007, the Department of Education announced today, May 4. Citadel High School was originally scheduled to open in September2006; however, demolition of the existing building on the sitewill take longer than anticipated. Education Minister Jamie Muir said it might have been possible toopen the school as early as February or March 2007, but afterdiscussions with the board and the community School SteeringTeam, it was decided to wait until September. “Moving in the middle of a school year can be very challenging,especially considering that we’ll be moving two schools intoone,” said Mr. Muir. “We agreed it was better to wait.” The new school will replace Queen Elizabeth and St. Patrick’shigh schools. The delay of the school opening will move some of the expenses tothe 2007-08 fiscal year, which will relieve some cost pressuresin the department’s $360-million, seven-year capital spendingplan. Mr. Muir said the decision was based on practical issues alone,but said the change would also affect another new school inHalifax Regional Municipality. “Coincidentally, this decision also improves the cash-flowprojection for the new Western HRM high school, which isscheduled to open in September 2006,” he said. “From the standpoint of teaching and learning, opening a schoolin middle of the year can be disruptive and often results in lostteaching time,” said Wade Marshall, chair of the Halifax RegionalSchool Board. “Hopefully, this delay will allow all of thebuilding systems to be tested and ready to go well before thestudents arrive.” David Driscoll, a former school board member and a current memberof the School Steering Team, agreed. “The delay is unfortunate, but it’s better for all concerned thanattempting to make the move in mid-March,” he said. “I expectthis will continue to be a priority project for the board and theprovince.” Citadel High will accommodate about 1,200 students at a projectedcapital cost of $21.7 million.