SHEDIAC (GNB) – Design work has begun on a major upgrade at Polyvalente Louis-J.-Robichaud in Shediac.

“A strong education system is crucial to the future of New Brunswick’s economy,” said Premier Brian Gallant, who is a graduate from the school. “Investing in schools creates construction jobs and improves the education system.”

The project involves renovating the high school to add 30 years to the building’s lifespan. The school was built in 1969 and accommodates 586 students.

“Your government understands that investing in education infrastructure is key,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny. “Having the proper infrastructure in place is important as we work with our partners to implement our 10-year education plans.”

Construction work will begin this summer and is expected to be completed in December 2020. The project will include renovations to allow for a culinary arts classroom, an essential skills classroom and a resource room. Work to the interior of the school will also include paint and upgrades to the floor and ceiling. The building will get a new roof, improvements will be made to the spaces between the interior and exterior of the building, and some site work will be done as well.

The 2017-18 capital budget includes $2.5 million for the project. The total cost is estimated at $13 million.

“By making strategic investments in education we are ensuring that our schools continue to meet the needs of current and future students,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “The upgrades planned for Polyvalente Louis-J.-Robichaud will create a supportive learning environment where our children can develop the skills they will need to succeed.”

Boudreau spoke on behalf of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser.

About $88 million will be invested in the province’s public schools in 2017-18.

The government’s 10-year education plans aim to improve educational outcomes and better prepare young people for the future. They set objectives in priority areas to create lifelong learners, support educational leaders and bring stability to the system.