The Waterloo Regional District School Board plans to reconstruct Riverside Public School in Elmira, and now it’s looking for feedback from the community. Next month, the board will begin a boundary study in Elmira that may also encompass changes to Park Manor and John Manhood public schools.
The study will give the WRDSB a chance to consider community feedback about the reconstruction of Riverside, as well as to discuss school boundaries and enrolment sizes for all elementary schools in the area.
“We’re looking at closing the existing Riverside Public School, however rebuilding a new Riverside Public School within its same boundaries,” said Nathan Hercanuck, senior planner for the WRDSB.
“We can tell you that we’re looking in the new subdivision off of Church Street,” he said of the Lunor development on the west side of town.
During the consultation, the WRDSB will work with two school council representatives from each school in a boundary study working group that will “set objectives, develop and review boundary options, review public feedback, develop a transition plan and confirm recommended options,” according to the WRDSB.
The group will begin meeting in April. While the study is underway, the WRDSB will also host two public meetings for the community at large, with the dates to be announced. So far, there is no set-in-stone timeline for the study’s completion.
“It’s a public process, so it’s going to be dependent on the consultations we have with the public,” said Hercanuck. “In past situations like this where we’re looking at a boundary study and accommodation review, maybe three or four months, not including the summer.”
Even after that, a new school could be a long way off yet.
“Construction for an elementary school facility is generally 18 months from the time we engage an architect until we get occupancy of the building,” said Hercanuck. “However, the timing of this construction will be dependant on obtaining the funding and approval from the Ministry of Education.
“After this public process is done and we go to the trustees with our recommendations … if there’s significant capital works, such as a new school or new additions to other schools, then we have to apply for approval from the Ministry of Education.”
The WRDSB plans to inform the community of its public meetings via its website, advertisements in the paper, and school flyers. More information will be made available online at www.wrdsb.ca.