Why close a school when it will be needed in the future?
Daniel Woodward School in Richmond is an example of a valuable asset and closing it is illogical. As other nearby schools go through the renovation process for seismic upgrades, Woodward school has plenty of space and could host the students.
The separate vacant area upstairs of Woodward school is a valuable opportunity for the school district.
Not many schools have a wing that can be sectioned off and used for rentals, so keeping this school open and looking for “outside the box” ideas for the available space makes sense.
Alternatively, the space houses staff from the school district and can be used for other school district purposes, such as administration and student services.
Development in the Shellmont area is well underway with hundreds of apartments being constructed at “The Gardens” apartment complex and multiple houses along No. 5 Road are being redeveloped for high-density townhouses.
New residential house construction in the area requires secondary suites and, subsequently, this could bring in new students. It makes no sense to close a school that has potential for growth and for other purposes.
The Minister of Education needs to understand that in areas such as Richmond where the cost of land is extremely expensive, selling properties would be very unwise. It’s better to hold these properties and wait for the population growth to catch up.
The ministry needs to allow the districts to get creative with their assets and allow for alternative uses that would enable them to maintain ownership of the lands that schools currently occupy.
The 95 per cent occupancy rule is shortsighted and incredibly unfair.
Richmond city councillor and former school trustee