Avondale P.S. to get a third storey
Provincial funding helps relieve capacity issues in North York In September 2018, when Avondale Public School students begin attending classes in their new building, they will have a little more room to celebrate. Last month, the province announced it would invest an additional $6.1 million in the Willowdale elementary school’s new building, bringing the total budget to $23.4 million.
“The ministry has approved capital funding for the construction of a third-storey addition,” said Heather Irwin, spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Education. “With this change, Avondale Public School will be able to accommodate up to 875 pupils, 322 more than the original design.”
While city councillor John Filion of Ward 23, Willowdale, is pleased to see the ministry invest in Avondale P.S., he is concerned that the province is ignoring the root cause of the projected increases in enrollment. According to Filion, with the rampant construction of highdensity condominiums in the area, more children can fit into a school’s catchment zone before the boundaries can be redrawn, or new schools built.
Toronto District School Board trustee Alexander Brown said he fears that a crisis is imminent, especially in the Yonge-Bloor corridor, with population growth set to outpace the speed at which schools or expansions can be built.
“Avondale’s third floor has solved today’s headache, but what about tomorrow?” said Brown.
Filion shares Brown’s concerns and has struggled to convince the province to take preventative steps.
“The provincial government does not like to stand in the way of developers,” said Filion. “It needs to work out a plan to provide schools and hospitals before these new buildings get approved.”
For Avondale parents with children in the school’s alternative program, the news of the third floor is especially welcome, as the two-storey plan would have seen them relocated.
Stephanie Hennaoui, the cochair of the Avondale Parent Council whose daughter attends the school’s alternative program, is especially relieved that the school will be able to remain intact.
“The school means so much to me. It has an incredibly dedicated staff, and the alternative program would not be possible if teachers had to manage enormous classes,” she said. “I am so happy my daughter will be able to stay at Avondale.”
SHEPPARD AVE. E. HIGHWAY 401 This photo taken in May 2017 shows construction already underway at Avondale Public School AVONDALE AVE.