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Sep 14, 2011  |  Vote 0    0

School lobbies for new building instead of addition

Seeking funds to construct new facility for St. John the Evangelist students

North York Mirror
By Clark Kim

St. John the Evangelist students may have a new school built if a business case being prepared by the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) is approved by the province.

The Ontario Ministry of Education recently committed to providing future funding of about $5.6 million to build an addition to the Weston Road and Church Street area school for 290 pupil places.

But the school board, with support from the parent council, is hoping the ministry will provide additional funding to completely rebuild the school.

"We're in the process of working with an architect and consultant to get a cost-benefit analysis for an addition or a replacement school," said Angelo Sangiorgio, TCDSB associate director of planning and facilities.

He noted the business case to be submitted to the ministry would be for a replacement school accommodating 600 students.

"We're hoping to have (the business case) finished by November," said Sangiorgio, noting the ideal time to start construction would be in June.

That would coincide with the Metrolinx project in which tunnelling would begin for the air-rail link tracks connecting Union Station to Pearson airport through Weston.

Dave Bennett, vice-chair of the parent council, agreed.

"The goal for ourselves is (to have) a replacement school," said Bennett, who has three children attending the elementary school.

He noted there has already been an addition put on the original building with a capacity of 260 students. Multiple portables have been added to accommodate the 500 students currently attending St. John the Evangelist school.

York South-Weston MPP Laura Albanese said she supported the community in advocating for a new school especially with the expansion of the GO Transit corridor, which is part of the Metrolinx project, scheduled to take place next summer.

"It's the right time so you don't have to inconvenience the children twice," said Albanese. "It's a great opportunity that should not be missed."

Which school the children would move to, if construction for both the air-rail link and a new school is approved, has yet to be determined.

A letter from the Ministry of Education to TCDSB education director Ann Perron acknowledged the school board's intent to propose a business case for a new school and it would be "considered when the ministry is in a position to provide additional Capital Priorities funding approvals."

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