Barrie’s new south end school won’t open until 2019. That’s nearly three years beyond when they originally hoped. A letter sent by Superintendent John Dance to affected parents yesterday says, now the city has given site approval to the school at Mapleview and Prince William Way, they can start all the other leg work that goes into building a school. The letter indicates they’re optimistic about breaking ground next spring. When the school board first gobbled up the 20-acre parcel of land, it was suggested a school there would open to coincide with the closure of Barrie Central Collegiate last week, while a site plan was originally submitted and voted down by city hall in October.
The letter sent to parents of of students at Hyde Park Public School, Hewitt’s Creek Public School, Algonquin Ridge Elementary School and Innisdale Secondary School reads as follows:
“Dear SCDSB Parent,
You may have heard that our site plan for the secondary school planned for south Barrie was approved at Barrie City Council on June 27. Site plan approval was a critical step that we’ve been working to achieve for over a year and a half.
We’re thrilled about this milestone, but there is still a lot of work to do before we can start construction. A major step is to finalize the site plan conditions with the City of Barrie. Our architect can then move ahead with working drawings, which are needed before we can get final approval from the Ministry of Education and issue a tender to find a contractor.
We also have to work with the city to get permits and negotiate the servicing of the property (such as roads and sewage infrastructure), among other items. Our manager of planning met with planning staff from the city last week. The work will continue over the summer.
At this point, we’re optimistic we can break ground in spring 2017 provided the work to get permits moves quickly. It takes two years to build a high school. Breaking ground next spring will have us on schedule for a September 2019 opening.
Students who live in the attendance area for the new school will attend Innisdale Secondary School while the new school is constructed. We will welcome about 200 additional students at Innisdale next year. We don’t have concerns about space at the school. Schools are designed so populations can fluctuate.
One of the ways we handle changing populations is by adding portables to schools. We’ve heard comments about the need for 40 plus portables at Innisdale. This isn’t true. We have 19 portables at the school and don’t need to add more for next year.
Portables are set up similar to indoor classrooms. They have the same technology access and all classroom materials needed for the course. The difference is students get fresh air as they head to class. In secondary schools, students attend their classes in different locations throughout the day. Students will have some classes in the main building and some, possibly, in portables.
We should be able to provide another progress update in the fall. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great summer!
Superintendent of Facility Services”