King George Elementary School students in Peterborough are getting a look at their new temporary school this week.
Beginning this fall, students will be bussed to the former Ridpath Public School in the village of Lakefield while a new elementary school is built in Peterborough’s east end. The new school will consolidate the student populations at King George and Armour Heights public schools. The Ridpath building was retired in September 2017 following the opening of Lakefield District Public School.
On Monday, members of King George’s leadership team for grades 5 and 6 were getting ready to welcome busloads of their classmates to the Ridpath building to get a feel for their new school, which will house 674 students from kindergarten through Grade 8.
King George Public School principal Marguerite Masterson says the main reason for a new school is the capacity level of the 105-year-old King George building. A 2016 study said the school was at 80 per cent student capacity with 232 students — nearly half of what it was 15 years ago. Armour Heights was at 73 per cent student capacity with 225 students, 150 fewer students than in 2001.
Students are affectionately dubbing their temporary school “King George North.”
“King George is a school that has a main floor, basement as well as a second floor and two portables this year, whereas the new King George North school here in Lakefield is on one level in a nice, large, L shape so it will be a different environment for our students to get to know,” said Masterson.
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Masterson says it will be important to try and maintain that close connection at King George North.
“I think it’s going to be important for us to continue to communicate really well with parents because we are just not around the corner for families to drop in on a moment’s notice,” she said. “And that’s one thing we are going to have to work with to make sure our parent partners have the information they need to keep in tune with everything that’s going to happen with King George.”
Construction on the new school is expected to start later this month, and the new facility will open by September 2020.