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Selwyn seeks answers from KPR
February 17, 2017
BY TERRY GILLIS
Jack Nigro, Superintendent of KPR appeared as a Delegation at the February 14 Selwyn council meeting at the request of Council.
Mr. Nigro began his presentation by stating that he was there to update Council on the “goings on with our new Lakefield elementary school.”
Almost verbatim, Mr. Nigro reiterated that thanks to the six million plus dollar funding announcements from the Ministry of Education, KPR was creating one of the most unique elementary school in their board. He listed all the advantages of the new school, including the ability to retain grade seven and eight French Immersion, maintaining a strong Curve Lake First Nation presence within the local educational community, enabling access to students of a large gym, library and multi-purpose space, and providing elementary students with a dedicated music room.
During his presentation, Nigro announced that last Thursday “they” met as an Ad Hoc naming committee to discuss possible names for the new school. Overall, 162 submissions were made to the board. Next Thursday (February 23) a report will be going to the Board with a recommended name. Superinentendant Nigro said that he was not able to share the name because the report has not yet been made public.
Nigro touched on community use and partnerships. He stated that they “plan to accommodate all of the community activities that previously took place in Lakefield and Ridpath schools.” However he informed Council that, “given the tight summer construction schedule, we may need to relocate some of those activities to Ridpath for the summer.” “We’ll be working with groups individually to make sure this happens in a smooth manner,” he continued.
Superintendent Nigro gave Council, staff and the public in attendance an update on the “intermediate wing” of the school. He stated that, “during the design process, it became apparent that the entire intermediate wing appeared to be surplus space.” He said that, “with the facility becoming an elementary school, we needed to look at traffic access, flow and safety for busses, children and the child care, which will be located at the back of the school, including drop off and pick-up.”
Nigro told Council that the Board had held informal discussions with local, municipal and business representatives on possible future uses of the intermediate school. “Ultimately, all those discussions yielded the same result, “ he said. “Although it would be nice to use or keep the space, there wasn’t a known need or interest for the large amount of space available.”
In order to keep the building, the Board would need to have a cost recovery lease, for the entire building, in place. “Therefore, we have planned for full scale renovation and right-sizing of the building to create an excellent facility for the new school, which provides safer access and better traffic flow for students and families,” Nigro said.
Nigro addressed some of the concerns and rumours the Board had heard floating around the community regarding the sale of the Intermediate school property. He assured Council that they were not selling any part of that land, and that they needed it for bussing, family drop off and pick up.
After the presentation Council was given an opportunity to ask questions. Deputy Mayor Senis commented that she was really sorry to hear that the intermediate school is going to be demolished. She then asked for clarification on the consultation with municipal staff and business leaders. Deputy Mayor Senis asked if Mr. Nigro could share the names of some of the individuals because, “as Council, we never got the opportunity to have a discussion.” She said that she didn’t know that the public was involved at all, and “it’s something that’s very concerning to the community. We’ve lost our high school, and now we’re losing another piece of our heart.”