Phoenix-based U-Haul International Inc. wants to purchase the former Moncton High School in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, and convert the interior to self-storage. Members of the community and government view the building as a historical landmark, and some are opposed to the project. U-Haul’s plan is contingent on its ability to buy the property, and the company is committed to maintaining the building’s heritage and façade, according to Jeff Lockridge, manager of media and public relations.
“I can confirm U-Haul has been scouting the old high school site since late 2015 as a potential acquisition for a U-Haul moving and storage facility,” Lockridge told the source. “An offer has been made, and we’re in the process of seeking approval from the province first, after which we would seek approval from the city.”
Chris Collins, a representative from Moncton Centre who is speaker of the New Brunswick legislative assembly, opposes the self-storage deal, the source reported. A local community group called MH Renaissance has proposed turning the high school into a cultural center. The $21 million plan would include turning the school auditorium into a theater and renting space to businesses. Locally based Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada has reportedly expressed interest in the theater space.
The MH Renaissance project would require government assistance to complete. “We are asking them now instead of tearing down the building [to] take that money and fund our project,” group member Joe Tippet told the source.
Dawn Arnold, a member of the Moncton City Council, acknowledged the community’s emotional attachment to the high school but also indicated self-storage could be a viable use for the building, noting it’s the “No. 1 growing business in North America.” “I think everybody would love to have a community center,” she told the source, “but we are living in very difficult financial times.”
Established in 1945, U-Haul has more than 44 million square feet of storage space at more than 1,200 owned facilities throughout North America.
- Global News: Future of Former Moncton High School Still Undecided