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Municipality of Yarmouth seeking uses for former Arcadia school site

Former Arcadia Consolidated School in Yarmouth County.
Former Arcadia Consolidated School in Yarmouth County.

YARMOUTH, N.S. – As is often the case when a municipal unit inherits a former school building, the Municipality of Yarmouth has no foreseeable personal need for the former Arcadia Consolidated School. 

But the municipality is looking for proposals and ideas from others.

The former elementary school closed in June 2016. Students were sent to nearby Plymouth School.

Most recently, the building housed some mental health/psychiatry, medical and outpatient offices following a flood at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital in December. Those offices only just recently moved back into the hospital so now the building will revert to the municipality.

Asked if the municipality has a use for the building, Warden Leland Anthony says, “At this time, no. But we do have our economic development officer who has been working in the background on some possibilities. We knew it was coming back to us.”

The municipality put out a request for proposals a few months ago and received one. It continues to be open to receiving other proposals.

Anthony says the school is still in good condition.

“All of those schools were well built and Arcadia school has had some modifications done to it over the years like the windows, etc. So it has been upgraded,” he says, adding is also has a good sewer and water system.

“It also does have the walking trail and the soccer field,” Anthony says, noting this has been an important building in the community for a long time.

“The municipality will be looking very hard before we’d even consider, let’s knock ‘er down,” he says. “But I don't think we’ll hold onto it for five or six years hoping to find something for it. We’d have to make some hard decisions in the next couple of years.”

The municipality, he said, would look at boarding up windows to ensure they aren’t broken as the building sits empty. The warden says he’s also suggested installing security cameras.

It’ll cost the municipality around $40,000 to keep the heat needed in the building in order to ensure it is properly maintained, says Deputy Warden John Cunningham. He says there is one small challenge when it comes to finding a use for the building.

“There may be a small problem with the Arcadia school since the school is in a hamlet. It’s very restrictive of what can go there,” Cunningham says.

“Whatever proponent is looking they have to make sure the use fits the community,” he adds. “Now mind you down the road if there is a different use that’s not allowed in the hamlet we could have a public hearing and change our municipal planning strategies and land use bylaws.”


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