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DYS gym section to be renovated this summer

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After completion of the new classroom wing at Donald Young School in Emo late last year, renovations to the gymnasium section are to begin once classes break for summer.

The school's classroom wing, first built in 1955, was deemed “prohibitive to repair” back in 2003. A new section rebuild began in mid-2016 and completed late last year.

Now the focus is on upgrading the gymnasium, the remaining three classrooms, and the kitchen area to complete the project.

Travis Enge, manager of plant operations and maintenance for the Rainy River District School Board, said that section of the school was built in 1974.

An engineering study determined it to be in good shape structurally and the board is in the process of completely renovating the section.

The board awarded the tender for the project to Manshield Construction of Winnipeg on May 1.

The classroom section rebuild cost $6.8 million overall while the gymnasium section renovation has a budget of $4 million.

“That [$6.8 million] was everything," Enge noted. ”Construction, architect, everything.

“That was our total funding for that [project].”

Because the board decided not to consolidate schools during the rebuild construction, the Ministry of Education did not provide it with funding for the DYS project.

But the school “had the needs" and "had been on the list to get replaced for a long time,” the board approved funding from internal reserves.

The gymnasium project, on the other hand, is being funded only partially by internal reserves.

The board received additional funding through the Ministry of Education's School Condition Improvement and School Renewal programs—grant programs focused on new builds, renovations, and the maintenance of schools in the province.

“Instead of getting a whole brand new school in Emo built on school consolidation money, we ended up using our School Condition Improvement money, our School Renewal money, and some internal reserves, and on our own renewed the whole facility for the long-term,” Enge said.

During the summer months, the exterior brick will be removed, portables installed, and a construction zone will be created in the gymnasium that will be blocked off so students and teachers are not exposed to construction in the fall.

The renovation will include insulation upgrades and new flooring and paint, as well as new mechanical systems and millwork.

The floor plan will be modernized, bringing in new lifts to make the existing stages accessible, structural enhancements, a new hallway to the kitchen, and a new entrance for the bathrooms.

“It'll still do all the same functions it does now, but we're tidying it up so that it functions better for our needs today,” Enge noted.

Once the school year starts again in fall, regular programming and classes will take place in the portables while gymnasium-type activities will take place outdoors.

At this time, it is projected the renovation will be completed around Christmas of this year.

“The final phase of the project, which we'll be looking at doing next summer, will be to complete the playground and paving,” Enge said.

“We still have some asphalt to place, and then there's play structures we want to install and final landscaping.”

Also in the works for next year will be a new day care centre at the DYS site.

The RRDSB, in a joint application with the local District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB), received $2.4 million in funding.

They currently are working on the design of the 49-place day care (10 infant, 15 toddler, and 24 pre-school), with the hope to start construction once the DYS project is completed.

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