Durham board confirms new school in Beaverton

Two weeks after the project was announced by an area MPP, funding for a new school in Beaverton has been confirmed by the Durham District School Board (DDSB).

The board issued a press release Thursday (Feb. 8) morning stating that it had received funding from the Province to move forward with the consolidation of the village’s two public schools.

“This is exciting news for the students at Thorah Central Public School and Beaverton Public School,” said Oshawa Trustee Michael Barrett, chair of the DDSB.

“Replacing those two schools with a new facility will provide the students with enhanced programming and modern facilities.”

 “The new school will be a welcome addition to the Beaverton community,” added Brock-Uxbridge Trustee Gord Baxter.

“I’m grateful that the Ministry recognized the need for a new school in the north to support student learning.”

 The new school will accommodate 326 students and will include a three-room child care centre and one EarlyON (child and family Program) room. The new facility is scheduled to open September 2020.

Once the new school is built, the current Beaverton Public School will be demolished. Thorah Central Public School will close once the new school is constructed and the two schools will consolidate.

Long rumoured, the DDSB launched a formal accommodation review of the two schools in October of 2016.

At that time, residents were presented with two options –  construction of a new building at the Beaverton PS site or the status quo. When a public meeting was held in December, the possibility of a new school on the Thorah Central site was also under consideration. A fourth option, preservation of the original Beaverton PS building (built in 1924) with an addition, was added following comments at the public meeting.

Trustees voted last February to build the new school at the Beaverton PS site despite some concerns from residents.

“Some community members, nine in total, expressed concern regarding the proposed construction of the new school on the Beaverton PS site given the site is smaller than that of Thorah Central PS. The site size for the proposed school would not support the existing track; however, board staff are in discussions with the Township of Brock regarding a potential partnership involving the use of the park space across from Beaverton PS,” a DDSB report reads.

It also noted that some residents raised issues with the size of the new school, which could accommodate as many as 340 students.

“Based on input received, nine community members are also concerned about the size of the proposed school given that portables are contemplated. As outlined in responses to the community at the public meeting, e-mails, voicemails and on the comment sheets, the site of the building would continue to be assessed by staff based on refined enrollment projections as the project progresses,” the report reads.

The DDSB plans on forming a transition committee comprised of staff, students and parents from the two schools to assist in the process.

Up to $20,000 in funding would be available to the group, which would be an “excellent opportunity to work together to create an action plan that co-ordinates and allows the school communities to become united,” according to the DDSB.

“In past practice, these committees have designed activities, events, assemblies and parent/family nights that focus on developing a new culture, building relationships and an exciting process that creates a shared vision, welcoming environment and a transition that bonds Brock school communities.”