More than 50 residents stressed to Halton District School Board officials that Georgetown District High School is badly in need of renovations that will become more critical if a proposed capital plan goes into effect. The residents let their views be known at a board public meeting on the five-year capital plan, at GDHS Thursday night. The plan calls for a 2007 addition onto GDHS to accommodate 150 more students, the cancellation of the proposed Georgetown South high school, renovations to the old Howard Wrigglesworth, now Gary Allan High School beside GDHS, and the potential opening of two Georgetown South elementary schools in 2007 and 2010 (see sidebar below). Parent comments and suggestions included closing Georgetown high school and building the new high school instead, loss of students to the newer Christ the King Catholic high school, return of the students if GDHS is upgraded or a new school is built, the constantly changing enrolment projections, financial pros and cons of renovating a century-old GDHS compared to building a new school, the number of portables currently on school sites, and the possibility of leasing of a developer-built school.
Nancy Deligiannis, vice-chair of the Georgetown High School school council, read a statement to applauding parents, asking for renovations to the whole school.
"We have had numerous concerns over very many years about updating our school facility. We have major plumbing issues--it needs a major overhaul. We have classrooms that are crumbling... classrooms too small for class sizes...and outside repairs are needed," Deligiannis said. "Halton Hills is a rapidly growing
community and our students deserve equal access to the same range of programs as our more fortunate neighbours to the south-- in their own neighbourhood right here in GDHS. "The bottom line is this school needs a major renovation," stated Deligiannis, "even if the new school is built in the future. By the time the new school is built, this school (GDHS) would be beyond repair." The school council said an addition to GDHS is not good enough; a full renovation is essential. The Ministry of Education pays for new schools, cautioned Gerry Cullen, superintendent of facilities services. "Without some indication of what funding is going to be available, the last thing we want is to get people excited as to what may or may not happen." Cullen urged all residents to comment. This plan, he said, is a starting point, and "creativity should not be limited to the plan".
"This plan is no more than a plan at this point," he said. "We can't even afford to do what's on this plan. Until we see the final details on the financing (from the province), we have no idea what we can afford to do or can't do." Public comments sould be emailed to email@example.com or call the school board's planning office, 905-842-3014, before March 9. The comments will be analyzed and included the next report presented to the public in April. The Halton Hills meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 20, 7-9 p.m. at Georgetown District High School.
A final report is expected to presented to school trustees for a decision in June. Background documents and reports are being posted on the school board's website, www.hdsb.ca