School’s out for the summer as far as the students are concerned, but there’s still plenty of work going on at Elmira’s Riverside Public School – at both the now-retired current one and the new one under construction.
The new school is quickly nearing the finish line on its construction in the subdivision on the north side of Church Street in Elmira, but what will become of the old building on William Street?
Matt Gerard, superintendent of business services and treasurer for the Waterloo Region District School Board, says the building’s future is unknown at this point.
“It is a long process from where we are at now until anything eventually happens. It is tough to put an exact timeframe on it,” he said. “So, what essentially will happen in a situation like this, and there have been many where we have closed a school building, or moved it down the road, so to speak, is that it will be declared surplus to the board’s needs. Once it is declared surplus, we have to follow some legislation that is under the Education Act that essentially means we circulate the property through a number of government operations. There is a big list and at that point in time, one of those organizations may decide to purchase it and one may not. There are a lot of questions marks at this point in time.”
Government bodies, including Woolwich Township, have first crack at buying a surplus school building. If there are no takers, the search widens to the general public.
Crews were on site at the old school this week removing three of the portables that peppered the back lawn, adding classroom space for students. Gerard says there is a chance the portables were being sent to another school.
“The interesting thing about portables is that some of them we own, and some of them we lease,” he said. “What we will end up doing is shifting the portables around to other sites that may need them. I am not sure the exact condition of the portables at Riverside, but they could be retired as well, if they were in poor shape, or they could be replacing other retiring portables. That could be the case that they would be retired.”
As for the contents and resources inside the building, Gerard says that a lot of it will be moving with the students to the new building.
“It is a similar type of process for the contents of the school. In this case, because we are actually taking the school and moving it down the road, a lot of those resources just get moved as well,” he said. “Some of your permanent things like the phone system would stay in the building.”
Riverside Public School students will be learning in their new classrooms when school starts back up on Sept. 6. Teachers and staff will be allowed in the school a couple of weeks earlier to get prepared for the 2016-2017 school year.