MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government has finalized an agreement to save the former Moncton High School.

“Arts, culture and heritage are an important part of what makes New Brunswick the best place to live, work and raise a family,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “This project will identify the Greater Moncton region as the arts and culture hub of the Maritimes.”

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

Last summer, the provincial government reached an agreement in principle to save and redevelop the property, avoiding demolition of the building and maintaining the auditorium and gymnasium for community use. That agreement has now been finalized.

Heritage Developments Ltd. will purchase most of the property, except for the heritage portions which includes the theatre, for $1 million. The company will transform the remainder of the building into office space.

The province will retain ownership of the heritage portions of the building and will invest an estimated $4 million to renovate the former theatre to occupational standards, allowing for its future transformation to a community arts centre. Upon completion of the theatre renovation, the provincial government may convey the property to Heritage Developments if they meet certain conditions such as securing affordable leases with non-profit cultural organizations.

The former Moncton High School, considered one of the most significant architectural landmarks in downtown Moncton, is within walking distance of several local theatres and cultural facilities, including Centre Aberdeen, theatre l’Escaouette and the Capitol Theatre.

The project is expected to generate short-term employment in construction and, once completed, to generate growth in the tourism and arts industries. This is consistent with the multi-year New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan, the government’s framework to move the economy forward.