The future location of a new Georgetown South elementary school and proposed renovations to Georgetown District High School (GDHS) were the hot topics at a meeting hosted by Halton District School Board Thursday night. Approximately 40 area residents attended the meeting at GDHS on the second version of the board's draft capital plan, which is tentatively scheduled to be adopted by the board by June. At the meeting, Gerry Cullen, the board's superintendent of facilities services, told the residents that the board is faced with a dilemma over a new school location in Georgetown South. The board currently has two sites in that community, one on the east side of Mountainview Rd. and the other on the west. The board's preference is to have a new school on the east side of Mountainview Rd. behind Maple Creek Park but there is no servicing available at the school site yet, and if the board doesn't have "a green light very, very soon" Cullen said, they couldn't contemplate a school opening there in 2007, delaying it until 2008. The board's site on the west side of Mountainview Rd. (on Danby Rd.) is serviced and ready to go so a school could be built and open there for September 2007. But Cullen said a school there would be much closer to the existing Silver Creek School and would result in an imbalance of schools in the community with the school's population being scattered in several different locations. The board wants to hear from the public on which option they prefer-- a delayed school on the east side of Mountainview Rd. or the west side school that could open in 2007. A woman at the meeting asked if board went ahead with the west school could that delay the building of the east-side school? "Potentially," said Cullen. "The worst case scenario is if we only get one of those two schools." He also said currently the board doesn't know how much funding they will get to build any new schools, but they don't think it will be generous. Details about the proposed 2007 renovation for Georgetown District High School were not provided at the meeting because the timeline for that project is not as urgent as some other items in the plan, explained Elaine Westerhof, the board's manager of planning. She said board staff needs to determine what specialty space is needed at the school by January 2007. Cullen did provide, however, an upper limit price tag for the work at the high school. "It's probably a $10 million dance, anything beyond that probably won't fly," said Cullen. He said it would take approximately 10 months to design the renovation, and a minimum of 12 months to do the work. A man asked Cullen if the proposed Georgetown South high school was off the table. Cullen said it wasn't, but that the indication from the community at the last public meeting on the board's capital plan was there was more support renovations at GDHS. One woman at the meeting was frustrated because she doesn't feel the community has enough details on the high school renovation to know what would be included and to make an informed decision on whether or not it was worth the money or if a new school would be a better
option. Cullen said he could provide the public with further details. GDHS principal Ron Maruya asked for support from the community for the renovations at the school and provided his wish list for what he would like to see included. A separate complex built near the old Wrigglesworth School to house the school's arts area, which would include a theatre, was on his list. He said the rooms used by the arts program in GDHS' current building could then be converted into other classrooms. Members of the school's council are to present information on what they think is needed at the school at a board meeting this week. Halton Hills Trustee Ethel Gardiner asked at the meeting about a portapak (a group of portables linked to the ETHEL the through a hallway) for Silver Creek School. She wanted to know when the last date to begin initiating that process was so they could be ready for this September. "Because even with a second school...it does not ease those numbers and pressures and safety concerns we have at Silver Creek," said Gardiner. "I don't believe a portapak can be put in place for this September starting from now," said Cullen. She requested then to look at having it done for January.
Cullen said it would have to be determined if the numbers of students at the school and the length of time portables are required justify a portapak, which costs more than portables. On Monday he said the second school situation in Georgetown South also ties into the portapak issue. Westerhof said, as a result of a request from the last capital plan meeting in Georgetown, the second version of the plan recommends a change in 2007 for the Halton Hills rural high school students who live south and west of Georgetown and now attend Milton District High School. Under the revised draft plan students who live north of 5 Sideroad between Winston Churchill Blvd. and the hydro corridor located between the for the Fourth and Fifth Lines would be redirected to Georgetown District High School. Comments on the draft capital plan need to be submitted to the board's planning department by May 18.