Until the new schools can be built, SD60 must find ways to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of students at the elementary school level.
School District 60 Superintendent, Dave Sloan, listed a number of ways that the district can accommodate all the students until such time as new schools can be built. “Right now we are using utility spaces, rooms such as art rooms or music rooms, that aren’t designated as classrooms, as classrooms, until such time as we can deal with our shortage of space,” he said. “We have a projected two to three more years of increased enrolment before we can address the problem.”
SD60 has conducted a very detailed space analysis, Sloan said, which sets out exactly where they have space and where the district’s pressure points are. They are considering the use of portable classrooms, but that takes money, he said, and in light of the Province’s recent budget cuts, it will be a challenge.
“We have already started a process at CM Finch, the library was converted into classroom space, and the space that was formerly computer space is now the library,” said Sloan. “There is the portable option, but it is expensive. We have some schools which have modular classrooms already attached to them.”
Another strategy is to look at the actual spaces in the district, and perhaps consider shared catchment areas, such as between CM Finch and Central Elementary, so when they run out of room at one school, they can look at where the next nearest seats are available. It’s not an optimal solution, said Sloan, but one they can consider.
Construction of any new school will take at least a year, but the key is the land, which the district now has the funds to purchase.