BY ANDREW SMITH
LISTOWEL - Plans for a new elementary school in Listowel are moving ahead following the finalized sale of land between the Avon Maitland District School Board and the Municipality of North Perth.
A special meeting of North Perth council was held on July 24, approving the bylaw for the sale of the 18.2 acre property west of Listowel at a price of $1,021,000. CAO Kriss Snell said the meeting was called to allow the AMDSB to complete the sale by August and proceed with the project, which was confirmed by Janet Baird-Jackson, AMDSB superintendent of business and treasurer.
“We know we’re already going to be tight time-wise,” Baird-Jackson said. “We want to have the school open for September 2015, and we know construction will take a full year and we’ll lose the winter.”
The two-storey 62,000 sq. ft. school was approved for funding by the Ministry of Education in 2011, and will provide space for up to 565 students from junior kindergarten to Grade 8. Baird-Jackson said the school board will now be working on the final design of the school before proceeding to tender, all of which must be approved by the Ministry of Education to ensure the building is efficient and effective.
“We have to go through this process and then submit all that to the ministry,” she said. “It’s not as straight forward or streamlined as people might suspect.”
The new school is also being planned with the future recreation complex on the neighbouring property, Snell said, with a shared facilities agreement discussed by council at the same meeting.
“Because we’re building the school hopefully in conjunction with the rec complex, there’s a number of shared uses that we’re trying to make use of,” Snell said. “The shared facilities agreement just outlines how that will unfold in the future.” Snell said the agreement contains items like a shared driveway and parking lot between the two buildings, but that the document is open to amendments if needed.
“Once both buildings are built, if we need to go back and look at our agreement, we will,” Snell said.
Council also discussed the possibility of applying for funding from the City of Stratford to move Listowel’s day care facilities into the new school.
“We’re hoping to move the daycare in with the school, which is the direction the province is moving any way,” he said.
Baird-Jackson said she hopes the AMDSB is able to award tenders for the project later this fall, with construction starting late fall or early spring.