This is the sort of discussion that perhaps should have come forward earlier, but in this renewed age of municipal-school board loving and the Community Schools Alliance, kudos are deserved for it happening at all.
At Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, Councillor Gary Zalepa Jr. took a different approach from ideas thrown around before.This is exactly the kind of sharing of vacant school space encouraged in the draft policy -- one that school boards and municipalities can create now should the will exist on all sides to do so. The one thing it doesn't speak to however is how this addresses the enrolment at the school. With approximately 250 students, leasing shuttered space doesn't address this challenge, which is part of what prompted the review in the first place.
Instead of seeing the addition of programs to the school to attract students, he said he would like to see something be taken away: a “moth-balled” wing.
The Virgil wing of Niagara District Secondary School (NDSS) has been closed and condemned for many years now and he said council should consider partnering with the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) to lease out that wing to the Town.
“Our administrative offices are bursting at the seams and town officials are working in such crammed spaces that this could definitely be an opportunity to take advantage of that empty space.”
For a council that voted to screw the board on its preferred location for a new Virgil school (OMB hearing pending) however, it's a promising step.