Bluenose Academy Faces Capacity Strains 



(Illustration: Adele Nichols)

If you have kids attending Bluenose Academy, you have likely received recent emails about classroom changes due to capacity issues. But what is the school’s capacity? Despite the building staying the same size, that number keeps changing.

According to the South Shore Regional Centre for Education (SSRCE) Long-Range Outlook (2021), the capacity at Bluenose Academy is 600 students.

Principal Marija Abramenko sent an updated draft of this outlook to Lunenburg Town Councillor Melissa Duggan in October 2023, stating the capacity was 700 students.

Now, in a March 2024 emailed statement from the SSRCE, a capital project over the last three months has “resulted in the building capacity growing to 815 students achieved through some wall removal and programming changes within the building.”

Therefore, the school claims it has created space (in a building deemed too small to accommodate pre-primary programs currently offered at the Lunenburg Academy) for an additional 215 students.

Councillor Duggan has been following these developments and listening closely to the public’s concerns, which she does not believe have been assuaged by the school’s administration.

“I’ve received same-day emails about classroom changes. My daughter’s class was moved into a staff room. Classrooms are split by barrier walls, and children don’t have desks or space for personal items. Staff kitchens are becoming classrooms, and closets are now staff offices,” she says.

“This does not seem conducive to an adequate learning space for the kids nor a stable working environment for the teachers and staff.” 

Yet the SSRCE remains confident in the school’s capacity, stating in an email:

“The provincial system shows enrollment at Bluenose peaking this year and next, then dipping slightly over the next several years. This increased capacity combined with enrollment projections has us in a good position moving forward. Because of this, there are no long-term options currently being reviewed for an expansion of Bluenose Academy. We continue to review the capacity of our schools on an ongoing basis, and if enrollment projections change, we will then reassess long-term measures.”

For concerned citizens, the provincial government mandated that school boards hold public engagement sessions throughout the school year. The next SSRCE session will be at South Queens Middle School in Liverpool on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024, at 6 p.m. 


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