Coun­cil of­fers ‘un­con­di­tional’ sup­port

Agrees that Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary needs to be re­placed as soon as pos­si­ble

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS THE COM­PASS

Mem­bers of the Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary school coun­cil re­ceived a wel­com­ing au­di­ence dur­ing a com­pre­hen­sive pre­sen­ta­tion to the Bay Roberts town coun­cil last week

The seven elected mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials say they over­whelm­ingly and un­con­di­tion­ally sup­port ef­forts to have the school re­placed as soon as pos­si­ble.

School coun­cil mem­bers Teri Par­sons (chair­per­son), Lynn Clarke and prin­ci­pal Joy Brown de­tailed the nu­mer­ous short­com­ings at the half-cen­tury old wooden build­ing on Co­ley’s Point North Road.

“There have been im­prove­ments over the years, but this rapidly ag­ing wooden struc­ture lacks space and is show­ing signs of de­cay,” said Clarke, who led the pre­sen­ta­tion.

En­rol­ment at the kinder­garten-Grade 3 school has hov­ered just be­low 350 pupils in re­cent years, lead­ing to over­crowd­ing and a con­stant need to be cre­ative with space, Clarke ex­plained. That’s de­spite the fact that Grade 4 was moved to Amal­ga­mated Academy sev­eral years ago, and en­rol­ment at Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary was pro­jected to be around the 300 mark.

But with some 250 news homes built in Bay Roberts in the last five years, and no signs of a slow­down in that growth, en­rol­ment re­mains strong at the school. The town’s pop­u­la­tion in­creased by 7.5 per cent dur­ing last year’s cen­sus.

“I agree 100 per cent that a new school is needed,” said Coun. Wal­ter Yet­man.

Clarke painted an un­healthy pic­ture of the school that in­cluded a lack of class­room, staff, ad­min­is­tra­tive and stor­age space, de­fi­cien­cies in the gym­na­sium and stage, cracked walls and a con­gested park­ing lot.

Christ­mas con­certs, for ex­am­ple, have to be spread over four nights be­cause of the cramped quar­ters in the gym and on the stage.

“Ev­ery nook and cranny is uti­lized, in­clud­ing for­mer clos­ets,” she noted.

She added: “This build­ing has out­lived its abil­ity to pro­vide the learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment it should for our ex­pand­ing pop­u­la­tion.”

The lobby to re­place the school has been on­go­ing for sev­eral years, and the Eastern School Dis­trict passed a mo­tion in 2007 to make ap­pli­ca­tion to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment for fund­ing to build a new struc­ture.

But the years have passed and the ap­pli­ca­tion has yet to re­ceive the green light.

The school board reaf­firmed its po­si­tion just re­cently when it re­leased a 2011-2014 multi-year school plan. Once again, the plan com­mits to ef­forts to se­cure funds to re­place Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary.

“I will be very dis­ap­pointed if ( fund­ing for a new school) is not in this year’s (pro­vin­cial) bud­get,” said Coun. Melvin Walsh.

Mem­bers of the school coun­cil met re­cently with Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Clyde Jack­man and Port de Grave MHA Glenn Littlejohn. Jack­man also toured the school in June.

ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood is seen here with, from left, Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Joy Brown, and school coun­cil mem­bers Lynn Clarke and Teri Par­sons.

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