Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Board weighing DYS renovations

Despite not receiving money from the Ministry of Education to fund a rebuild of Donald Young School in Emo, the Rainy River District School Board is continuing to look at options for the K-8 school, which was deemed “prohibitive to repair” back in 2003.
“Donald Young School is in need of something,” stressed Travis Enge, the board’s manager of plant operations and maintenance.

He noted trustees agreed at their regular meeting last Tuesday in Atikokan to proceed with the investigation of the DYS renovation project.
“Exactly what it’s going to be hasn’t been decided yet,” Enge conceded.
“We are exploring all options from a new wing to a major renovation to what’s going to work for us.”
But Enge noted the board is particularly exploring the idea of building a new wing of classrooms and administration area.
“If you look at the school, there’s the gym, a library, and an early-learning classroom that was all built in the ’70s,” he said.
“We would keep that part of the asset and then build eight new classrooms in front of the eight classrooms in the other wing, and then take that old section down and turn it into a playground.”
Enge indicated that is the high level idea of the concept of what the board might be able to do—if it gets it all approved.
“It will be funded internally but still need ministry approval,” he explained, noting money for the renovation would come from the Condition Index Funding and Board Accumulated Surplus.
“It’s not a whole new school but a partial new school,” he added.
Enge said if that concept is approved, the board would be replacing the oldest part of the building.
“The original six classrooms were build in ’55,” he noted. “And then in ’63, they added two more classrooms on to make it eight.
“Way back there was renewal put into it,” Enge added.
“But it came to a point in the 2000s where they said it doesn’t make sense to do this anymore, let’s go for funding, and that’s where we’ve been going ever since.”
Now that the board has offered its support for the renovation project, it now is waiting for approval from the ministry.
“If that happens, then we’ll get serious about it,” Enge vowed.
“We’ll enlist the services of an architect, strike a building committee, and start the design phase with a budget,” he said.

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