Corner Brook -
The director of education for the Western School District Ross Elliot says some people do not realize how extensive the renovation proposed for this facility, not only for the regular maintenance and upgrade of a 26-year-old building, but to accommodate it changing into an intermediate facility.
The director said he appreciates the concerns of the parents as they share the desire to give the students the best learning opportunities available. He said the district staff also want students in this facility as soon as possible, but that it is not wise to do so at this time.
Work already tendered
Elliott said staff met with the Presentation school council last week to explain the reasons why the students would remain at the current junior high in September. At that time, the issues pertaining to the condition of the school were also discussed.
He said maintenance staff assessing the building to identify what work needs to be done in the interim, including roof repairs, which has already been tendered to a company.
The director assured Presentation will remain a safe and effective education environment for students.
"Without appearing to disagree with what I am sure is genuinely felt by the parents, this is a building that's a cement block structure and it does have some good basic features," he said. "With the leaks attended to, that should address the concerns people would have had. With some attention to what some school council members referred to as "cosmetics" of the building ... we are committed that the necessary work that is done on all of our buildings, including Presentation, that are projected for closure, to ensure they are maintained up to the point where the movement to another facility actually occurs."
Elliott said there is no concern over mould or air-quality issues at Presentation.
Meanwhile, Darin King, minister of Education, said the responsibility of identifying priorities with respect to the organization and administration of schools lies with the district and boards.
King said requests from districts are identified as their priorities and considered as part of the budgetary process. In the case of preparing Regina to be one junior high, he said the age-old adage of want versus need applies.
"I guess the big thing the board is going to have to do as they come forward looking for financial support is, what are they identifying as nice things to do in order to open a junior high versus what are they identifying as things that are required in order to move the students together.
"There may very well be an opportunity to bring all the students together under one roof quicker than they are anticipating."