Edinburgh Elementary nixes annex proposal to ease overcrowding

WATCH: Edinburgh Elementary parents are rejecting a school board proposal to deal with overcrowding. Rather than having two campuses, the school's governing board wants modular classrooms built on their campus. Global's Amanda Jelowicki reports.

The governing board of Edinburgh Elementary School in Montreal West is rejecting a school board solution to open a second campus to ease overcrowding.

Parents are instead proposing the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) open modular classrooms on the school’s playground as a possible solution.

The popular school currently has 400 students and is running at almost 30 per cent over capacity.

READ MORE: Edinburgh elementary parents search for solutions

The EMSB had proposed Edinburgh open an annex at the former St-Ignatius Loyola School nearby. It proposed the school run kindergarten to Grade 2 classes there. The EMSB offered to bus students between the two buildings.

In a survey, more than 90 per cent of parents rejected that option.

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“The prospect of bussing them a few kilometres away, it’s not in the way that a lot of people in our zone want to have their children educated,” said Michael Rodger, the chair of Edinburgh’s governing board.

“It is not going to be the same look and feel and sense of community we currently have under one roof.”

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The school wants the EMSB to build five interconnecting modular classrooms on the playground. The prefabricated, 800-square-foot units would share a common hallway. A custom-built door would connect them to the school and to bathrooms.

Edinburgh says it has an extra large playground, so even with about 5000-square-feet of space being used by the classrooms, there would still be ample room for kids to play.

WATCH: Overcrowding situation at Edinburgh Elementary comes to a head

Parents meet to discuss options as overcrowding at Edinburgh school comes to a head
Parents meet to discuss options as overcrowding at Edinburgh school comes to a head

The classrooms cost around $50,000 each to install and around $1,500 per month to run them. They would likely cost around $350,000 for five classrooms.

“It’s something that we think is very reasonable to be considered given the overcrowding problem we have,” Rodger said. “We don’t think it can continue. We need a solution in place right away.”

While the Commission Scolaire de Montréal, a French-language school board, runs some modular or temporary classrooms, the EMSB does not.

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READ MORE: Montreal West parents worry about room at Edinburgh Elementary for local kids

EMSB spokesperson Mike Cohen says the school board’s own experts are examining the option.

“Modular classrooms would have to be ordered. We have already costed it out. We have to see about availability,” said Cohen. “But again that has to be a decision, we have to see whether our administration and our council is in favour of that.”

“So yes we know what they want, it’s being studied.”

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The board is likely to make a decision at its meeting Feb. 20.

READ MORE: EMSB cancels plans to open French immersion school in NDG to address overcrowding