MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government has reached an agreement in principle to see the former Moncton High School saved and redeveloped, without demolition of the building while also maintaining the auditorium and gymnasium for community use.

“The former Moncton High School building is part of Moncton’s cultural fabric and it is important that we did everything we could to help the community save one of the most architecturally important landmarks in the city,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “This redevelopment project will celebrate that heritage and ensure the building continues as a symbol of permanence in Moncton.”

Heritage Developments will purchase the former school and a portion of its athletic field for the full advertised purchase price of $1 million. The developer has committed to preserving the architectural elements of the building and to leasing cultural spaces within, such as the gymnasium and the auditorium, to non-profit arts and culture organizations. They will partner with MH Renaissance Inc. to renovate the building.

Some alternative proposals considered by the province could have resulted in the demolition of all or part of the building, or in the province being in the position of providing significant subsidies for the project to proceed. These outcomes will not happen as a result of the agreement in principle announced today.

“The redevelopment of the former Moncton High School building is exciting for the Greater Moncton area,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “This project will complement other development projects in downtown Moncton, and add to the city’s growing reputation as the arts and culture hub of the Maritimes.”

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

“We are excited to work with Heritage Developments as they repurpose and rejuvenate this historic and iconic building, which has for 82 years been part of the history of the Greater Moncton Area,” said Dennis Cochrane, president of MH Renaissance. “The space made available for performing arts will be a valuable addition to the arts and cultural community.”

Heritage Developments has restored several historic properties in New Brunswick, including the Capitol Theatre, Heritage Court, Marvens Place, the Atlantic Lottery Corp. headquarters and Ganong Place in St. Stephen.

“To have this opportunity to repurpose the former Moncton High School by partnering with MH Renaissance is definitely exciting,” said Ross Carpenter, vice-president of operations at Heritage Developments. “This majestic building deserves a second chance.”

“Today is a very gratifying occasion for me,” said Chris Collins, Speaker of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly. “I have been working on this file with my constituents since the day I was elected to the legislature. I see today’s announcement as a great achievement for the people of Moncton.”

The project is expected to generate short-term employment through construction, and will also promote growth in the tourism and arts sectors. The developer expected to be able to lease parts of the building to commercial tenants which will have further economic spinoffs to the surrounding area. This is consistent with the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, the government’s framework to move the economy forward.