News Local

New school on board's wish list

Andrew Philips

By Andrew Philips, Special to Postmedia Network

Another elementary school for Oro-Medonte Township is on the public board's radar.

Simcoe County District School Board trustees approved an updated capital priorities list during a recent meeting.

While a new elementary school in Bradford to accommodate regional growth tops the list and is followed by a new high school for Alliston to replace Banting Memorial, a new Oro-Medonte elementary school comes in at the third spot.

"A new Oro-Medonte school has been identified as a priority to address growth in the area," said Brian Jeffs, the board's superintendent of business and facility services.

"Originally, an addition at W.R. Best (Public School) was planned, but a new school will better address current and future enrolment pressures."

Besides W.R. Best, the township is currently home to public elementary schools in Warminster, Shanty Bay, Moonstone (up to Grade 3), East Oro and Guthrie.

Jeffs said the township has expressed interest in partnership opportunities "with the potential to create a more fulsome and well-rounded business case to the Ministry of Education."

As well, Jeffs said, the board has some ideas of where the new school might be built.

"Although we haven't landed on a specific location, we are considering the Craighurst/Horseshoe area," he said.

In June, the Ministry of Education announced funding for an addition at Clearview Meadows Elementary School, meaning the Stayner school was effectively removed from the board's capital wish list.

But while Oro-Medonte is now in the bronze-medal position in terms of bricks and mortar, most of the board's hopes for future ministry funding clearly follow the growth patterns experienced in Barrie and areas farther south.

While additions are seen as necessities at Minesing Central Public School and Bradford Secondary School, the board wants to get approval for new elementary builds in Alcona, Wasaga Beach, Angus, southeast Barrie and an additional new Bradford District High School.

But while Wasaga Beach is in the running for an eventual new elementary school, Jeffs said a new high school isn't in the immediate offing.

"Currently, the growth in Wasaga Beach would support a business case for an elementary school, which is why it has been included on the list," he said. "Based on enrolment, we're unable to justify a business case for a secondary school at this time."

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