So what happens after they are closed?

By Jim Brown

The most predictable thing in the world was just announced.

Five schools have been recommended for closure across PEI by the province’s Public Schools Branch and if anyone believes it isn’t going to happen they are seriously delusional.

My big concern now is how is it all going to be accomplished. Many of these schools are older buildings located in rural areas with small, and declining, populations. How will they dispose of the properties? Who will buy them? Will there even be a demand for them?

Since they are older, going back many decades, there will likely be huge issues with asbestos. Not a problem if the buildings aren’t disturbed, but if renovations have to be done to make them suitable for other uses there’s a good chance dangerous fibres will released into the air. Who will pay the extensive costs involved in making the buildings safe (for instance, asbestos removal and disposal)?

Can they be transformed into restaurants, seniors’ homes, community centres or government offices? Or will they just be bulldozed? How long will public hearings last about the buildings’ future and if they last too long will the former schools just rot away making the final tab even more expensive? Hope the provincial Liberals have some answers.

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