A school built with community hands is one of three new schools welcoming students this week. The Greenfield School and Resource Centre in central Queens County is a joint effort by the Department of Education and the Greenfield Community Resource Centre Society. The school was officially opened by Premier Rodney MacDonald and Education Minister Karen Casey at a community ceremony today, Sept. 5. “I commend the Greenfield Community School Society for presenting this unique idea to government, nurturing the concept, and bringing the project to such a successful conclusion,” said Premier MacDonald. “What you have done here speaks to the ingenuity of Nova Scotians.” The non-profit society built and will maintain the $1.3-million school. Local community members and tradespeople donated labour, money and materials during construction of the two-classroom school. Parts of the new building, including the library and computer room, will be available for community use. “This unique project shows the dedication of the people of Greenfield and area to the education of their children,” said Ms. Casey. “The school will have a very positive impact on the community and will be a source of pride for years to come.” The Department of Education is leasing the school from the community for $72,000 per year for 20 years. The South Shore Regional School Board provides the teachers and staff for the school’s 32 students. “The innovation and collaboration of the community that has resulted in the building of this new community school is very significant,” said board superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake. “The South Shore Regional School Board will continue to provide equitable education to the Greenfield students.” The new facility replaces an aging two-classroom school. The former Greenfield Elementary School was more than 60 years old and lacked the modern infrastructure needed to accommodate students and the curriculum. “There is much pride in our community today,” said Richard Freeman, chairman of the society. “Thank you to all of our supporters, and a special thank you to the province and the South Shore Regional School Board for their confidence in us and our innovative solution.” In Middle Musquodoboit, students at Musquodoboit Rural High started classes today in their new $15-million school. The Halifax Regional School Board school can accommodate 450 students. Harmony Heights Elementary in Salmon River opened its doors to students on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The $10.9-million, Truro-area school is part of Chignecto-Central Regional School Board and has capacity for 370 students. An official opening of the school is scheduled for Sept. 29. Also, students returned this week to Caledonia’s North Queens Elementary, which was destroyed by fire in 2006. The school was rebuilt during the past year. Schools under construction and opening later this school year are Truro Elementary and Winding River Consolidated in Stewiacke. Including those schools, the province has 11 school construction projects underway. The department is spending $44 million this year on new school construction and renovations as part of an eight-year, $400-million initiative.
Last month, Rio Tinto’s Chief Executive Sam Walsh visited the company’s birthplace in southern Spain, commemorating the employees who helped build the foundations of the company more than a century ago. He also pledged Rio Tinto’s support for restoration work on a part of the company’s heritage in the region.The roots of the organisation date back to 1873, when a group of British and European investors formed The Rio Tinto Co to reopen ancient copper mines in the town of Minas de Riotinto, in Spain’s Huelva province. Rio Tinto eventually divested its Spanish interests, but for many years, the Huelva operations were the heart of the company, and the world’s leading producer of copper.Among the reminders of Rio Tinto’s time in Spain are the British Protestant Cemetery built by the company in 1879, and a memorial that the company constructed to honour its employees who lost their lives in World War I.During his visit, Walsh told Minas de Riotinto’s Mayor Rosa Caballero that the company would contribute €20,000 over three years towards restoration work needed on the cemetery.He also thanked Mayor Caballero for laying the wreath that the company sent in November 2014, to mark the centenary of the start of World War I and pay its respects to the employees who died in the conflict.“Rio Tinto is an international mining business with operations in more than 40 countries and we have a long and proud history stretching back more than 140 years,” said Walsh. “I respect our company’s heritage and, while we are no longer there, our commencement at Minas de Riotinto back in 1873 represents an important part of our story.“It was a privilege to have the opportunity to see first-hand the birthplace of our company and to better understand the rich history behind our business.“I was delighted to announce Rio Tinto will be helping to support the restoration of the cemetery and look forward to seeing the project progress. The Mayor of Minas de Riotinto told me it is an important project for the local community and we are pleased to be able to make this contribution.”Sam also spent time exploring Rio Tinto’s extensive historical archives and the town’s mining museum – which he declared one of the best he had ever visited. He also inspected the Cora Atalya (old pit), travelled on the restored locomotives and carriages of the mining railway, and toured the town’s English quarter, where houses were modelled after those from Victorian Britain, and were home to expatriate company executives.