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Last rural high school in Peterborough County on the chopping block
May 05, 2017
BY TERRY GILLIS
At the Thursday, April 27 meeting of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Trustees awarded over $13 million in construction tenders for new school construction and enhancements.
“We are very excited about all of these projects, and the enhanced learning environments they will create for our students,” says Cathy Abraham.
A tender in the amount of $7,418, 450 was awarded to Steelcore Construction Ltd., subject to Ministry of Education approval, for construction of the new Lakefield District Public School.
KPR anticipates that the construction/demolition work will begin this month (May). Once work begins, pictures of the construction’s progress will be posted through Twitter using #thenewLDPS and on the school board website.
While KPR is still expecting that students will be able to start the year in the new school, they do have a contingency plan in place in the event that (because timelines are very tight) the construction is not completed by September. The plan is to have five portables on-site at Ridpath Jr P.S. According to KPR’s correspondence with parents, “If it becomes necessary to follow this plan, there will be direct communication with all families during the summer, as well as through traditional media and social media.”
A tender in the amount of $2,116,880 was awarded to Gerr Construction Limited for an addition and alterations at Ganaraska Trail Public School, a tender in the amount of $1,361,130 was awarded to NRB Inc. for replacements of portables at Newcastle Public School and Westmount Public School, and a tender in the amount of $1,345,152 was awarded to Summit Mechanical for HVAC renovations at Courtice North Public School.
Also on Thursday, Trustees received the information results of a study undertaken by administration to explore the possibility of turning Norwood District High School (NDHS) into a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school.
The goal of this study was to examine a potential Kindergarten to Grade 12 school in Norwood and its possible impacts on students and the Board. Specifically, it considered if this type of school structure could address the impact of enrolment decline in the community.
In addition to a review of current best practices with respect to K-12 and small secondary school settings, the study considered a number of key criteria, including: programming for all students, extra-curricular opportunities, community partnerships, building and property, funding and enrolment trends among other areas.
As part of its study administration also held nine focus group meetings with stakeholders from Asphodel-Norwood Municipal Council, Norwood District High School, Norwood District Public School, and Community Friends of Norwood District High School. Each group was asked to identify advantages and/or disadvantages of creating a K-12 school.
Board staff and Trustees also contacted and visited other school districts regarding K-12 school models.
Administration’s report concluded:
- programming for students did not improve by establishing a K-12 school
- school facility utilization did improve through the consolidation process. Most schools based on this model were located in very rural communities and often involved the consolidation of several schools
- while space utilization issues could be addressed in the Norwood school community, resulting in some savings for the Board, the benefits to students and staff would be less apparent
- consolidating Norwood District High School (NDHS) and Norwood District Public School would not address, in any significant way, issues related to secondary program viability and secondary school enrolment.
The study concluded that a K-12 model would not be in the best interest of students, staff or parents of Norwood District Public School and that the Ministry of Education would not likely support a K-12 school model for these reasons.