LISTOWEL – Plans have been announced by the province to expand Listowel Eastdale Public School.
Last Wednesday, Perth-Wellington MLA Randy Pettapiece announced the school would receive $4.3 million to build an additional 98 new student spaces and 49 new child care spaces.
Pettapiece also announced $1.1 million for Milverton Public School to build 39 additional new child care spaces.
“Children and families will benefit from these projects,” Pettapiece said. “They will go a long way towards meeting the need for modern school spaces and more affordable childcare places in rural areas like ours. I would like to thank the Avon Maitland District School Board and the City of Stratford Children’s Services Division for successfully championing this cause. I am very happy that the government has responded.
Lisa Walsh, director of education for the Avon Maitland District School Board, expressed the board’s excitement at receiving this funding.
“Both projects support our shared goal of expanding child care and elementary school spaces in the Perth East and North Perth communities. When completed, these spaces will help better serve families in Perth East and North Perth,” said Walsh.
North Perth Mayor Todd Kasenberg told the banner that the municipality was “delighted” with the announcement.
“Our continued growth includes many young families, developing future needs. Pandemic realities have clouded the picture for child care, but we expect continued high demand in our community and stabilization in numbers as pandemic circumstances change,” Kasenberg said. “We are awaiting further information from the City of Stratford, which as Consolidated Service Manager in Perth County is expected to administer the funds on behalf of the Province.
“Discussions should start in the near future on the next steps and the role of the municipality.”
“I understand that staff and administration are very excited about MPP Pettapiece’s provincial announcement regarding the planned new addition to Listowel Eastdale Elementary School. I think it’s crucial…I think it’s important,” the adviser added. Allan Rothwell at the North Perth meeting on January 24.
Cheri Carter, superintendent of general services for the Avon Maitland District School Board, said the next step for the project is to do planning and receive ministry approvals.
“Before launching a call for tenders, we go back to the Ministry of Education to obtain authorization to proceed. It’s called ATP (approval to proceed) with a project and that’s where it gets more technical – some associated costs, more detailed floor plans,” she said. . “Before we can go out to tender, we have to get over that hurdle and then go out to tender, and that takes a bit of time, and then we have board approval and construction would start as soon as possible after that.”
Carter said she didn’t know how long it would take to get departmental approval. Now that funding is in place, work will continue on the planning phase of the project.
“Now that we know we can return to our architect’s office to work on more detailed plans, we will then submit them to the Ministry of Education as soon as possible. Sometimes the ATP process can take a bit of time,” Carter said.
“Obviously we’re going to work as quickly as possible because the need is so great in this community, but I can’t commit to when we can even start construction. There are still quite a few hurdles to overcome, but the biggest one is there: money.
Carter also referred to the projects in Milverton and Eastdale as a joint proposal with Stratford Children’s Services.
“Honestly, the government wouldn’t give us money if we didn’t need it. They’re pretty adamant you have to show proof of significant need for a period of time before they’ll give you the funds so I’m guessing Stratford Children’s Services are in the same position as us so that’s good news for all of us,” she said. .
The Eastdale and Milverton projects are part of a provincial investment of more than $600 million to support new schools and child care spaces. A total of 78 projects will receive funding, and the province is planning more than 19,700 new student spaces and 1,500 child care spaces.
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter and Mike Wilson, Listowel Banner