New Dartmouth South P-9 School Designs Revealed


My eldest child attended Prince Arthur before the turn of the century (starting in 1999, to be exact), and even way back then, the junior high located in Dartmouth’s Southdale area desperately needed to be replaced.

The school closed it’s doors in June of this year, and work began on the demolition of the old building in advance of the construction of a new school that will be home to the elementary school students presently attending Southdale-North Woodside plus students in Grades 7 to 9 (including French Immersion).

The designs by Duffus Romans Kundzins Rounsefell Architects Ltd. were unveiled at a meeting last night attended by about 50 community members as well as by representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

Southdale2The proposed building is anchored by a huge glassed-in cafeteria space that will be shared by both the elementary and junior high students. Classrooms for the two age groups will be in separate wings of the build. The entrance is designed to be “secure” and “welcoming”, and the design of the school was built around ideas of “connectivity”, “collaboration”, and “21st-century learning”.

I was probably most excited to see that the new school will include a Tech Shop which will allow the older students to take hands-on shop classes just as they did at the old Prince Arthur, albeit with safer, more up-to-date equipment. It seems like a wise decision in a time when we’re increasingly telling young people that trades are a satisfying and desirable job option.

The playing field will remain in essentially the same spot, and work is already underway to improve its drainage. There will be separate play areas for the younger and older students and some naturalized outdoor spaces – perhaps even some edible landscaping.

The budget for play structures is very small ($25,000), so a group of citizens has come together with the goal of raising $100,000 to create a durable, multi-use play space. Information on their efforts is available on the Dartmouth South Community Facebook page.

The school features two student drop-off areas. The first, for parents in cars dropping off students, is located off Prince Arthur Avenue. The bus entrance is located off Milverton Road, which has been a source of concern to the residents on this quiet, winding little street.

Demolition on the site is expected to be completed before the end of this year. The tender for the construction will be out in January, with building set to begin in early spring and to be completed for opening in September of 2017.

Photos by Heather Yule

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  1. Not sure how they plan to match the picture seeing how pajh is currently on an awkward hill and was designed with 3.5 floors to accommodate the landscape unless they wipe out the baseball field they’ll need to do a lot of land moving.

  2. This seems to be another school designed by someone who doesn’t have a clue what working in a school is like. The library has the music room on one side, the cafeteria on the other and a wood working lab on the other – you won’t be able to hear yourself think and it’s not conducive to a quiet place to study or work. The office is is set up for an Admin Asst to work @ a counter which, if anything like the one in my school, is not even a workable space. Not to mention the Prin and VP offices are on a corridor where no one has a sight path. This means there is no one to visually see if they were in need of assistance. The office work room is not in a sight path of main reception which means that the AA’s won’t be able to see someone wanting assistance. The gym change room is one big room for both male and female students to shower, change etc together. May not be an issue in elementary schools but would be for Jr. High. The music and gym are side by side which means that neither one will be able to hear with a classroom of students unless both rooms are sound proofed. The Learning Corridor is designed with student lockers and hang out spots – it won’t be a ‘learning’ space but it will be a space where students can mingle and talk and hang out. The students will like the space though which is a positive. I often wonder who picks these designs and shake my head. On a brighter note the foyer is nice and there seems to be lots of cafeteria room. I don’t see a theatre or cafetorium for things like guest speakers, concerts or plays. I didn’t notice a stage in the gym. I sure hope they are able to raise enough $ for their playground. It will be nice for students to have a beautiful new school and playground.

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