School Expansion Gets Green Light

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At last week’s Open House, Principal Sheryl Hunter was peppered with questions about the construction surrounded the school ranging from “what is happening here?” to “Why isn’t it almost finished?” The answer to the second question was available at the September 6th Council meeting, where the building permit for the construction project was given final approval.

The Site Plan application for the project was submitted to the township on April 29, which included all components for the project. The plan submitted on behalf of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board proposed the construction of a new daycare and five (5) classrooms addition to the existing school. The plan outlined the relocation of the existing south entrance, the creation of a new pick-up and drop-off area for the daycare, and the development of thirty (30) parking spaces on the south side of the site. In addition, the plan outlined the replacement of the existing sun shade structure, and the relocation of the basketball court, the swings and an existing play structure as well as the development of a new fenced play area for infants, toddlers and preschool children.

At the time of the review, there were a number of issues surrounding the plan that required further review. In order to allow the project to begin, the applicant was granted a permit only for the foundation portion of the plan, which allowed them to proceed with that portion of the project over the summer months.

At the September 6th Council meeting, there remained several stormwater management issues. Staff was working with the Applicant and their Architect and engineering consultant, and County of Peterborough and Otonabee Conservation Staff to resolve these outstanding issues and based on past experience with the applicants and their consultants, felt confident the issues would be resolved and recommended that the building permit be issued in anticipation of a quick solution to the outstanding issues. With some reluctance, Council agreed, allowing the project to pick up steam in the following weeks.

Since that time, the builder has been working overtime and by the following week, the stormwater issue had been resolved. The development to the south of the school on Brookside Drive has been plagued with flooding issues and the township was eager to ensure this project did not exacerbate the problem. To this end, the construction firm has developed an underground collection facility at a depth of 4.5 meters where groundwater can accumulate when required. The water will be released into the municipal system at a controlled pace that the system can absorb.

Obviously the construction project has a big impact on current school operations, as movement in and around the school is adjusted to allow the project to proceed. While there are inconveniences, there have also been learning opportunities to many of the schoolchildren who are mesmerized by the massive equipment and who spend much of their free time peering through the construction fence. Principal Hunter proudly reports that many of them can now identify all of the pieces of equipment by name.

Project Manager Vince Maiuri has taken a rental cottage in the area to keep an eye on the job. Not just a supervisor, he enjoys getting his hands dirty and works alongside the construction workers who are putting the pedal to the metal, hoping to meet the original December completion date. In the meantime, his wife is also getting involved inside the school where she volunteers twice a week in the breakfast program and in the classroom helping students with reading and art assignments. KG

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