The new Peterborough public school in East City that was scheduled to open this fall has delayed its opening until September 2021.
In a letter to parents and guardians issued Wednesday, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board says construction on the kindergarten to Grade 8 school — which will include French immersion and a daycare centre — continues but is approximately five months behind schedule.
The yet-to-be-named school will replace Armour Heights and King George public schools in East City, which are in aging buildings and face declining enrolment, according to a 2016 accommodation review that recommended amalgamating the schools.
“We are in a position now to share that, regrettably, the new school will not be ready for occupancy in September 2020,” the letter states.
Construction on the nearly $20-million building began in late June 2019. Among the reasons the board listed for not hitting its fall 2020 opening include:
- Receiving the tender approval in May 2019, three months after initially projected
- 53 days of construction delays due to extensive rain and precipitation
- Physical and time-consuming challenges managing underground water on the site
“Because of where we are in the construction cycle, these delays significantly affected completion of the exterior of the building,” the letter states.
The board says it didn’t want students attending the school in an “unfinished” state with muddy slopes and terrain. Attempting to relocate students and staff from two schools mid-year would also be “complicated and potentially stressful for everyone,” the letter added.
“We want to ensure we provide ample time for a positive and smooth transition experience for everyone involved.”
This school year, many students from King George North are attending Ridpath Junior Public School in the village of Lakefield. Others are in classroom portables that have been added at Armour Heights, which are also housing the school’s before- and after-school programs.
“We are calling upon that goodwill yet again as we move to complete this project and build this great school, which we know will serve generations of families within the community,” the letter reads.
According to a February 2016 accommodation review report, the 105-year-old King George school was at 80 per cent student capacity with 232 students — nearly half of what it was 15 years ago. Armour Heights, which opened in 1954, was at 73 per cent of its capacity with 225 students, down 150 students from 15 years ago.
The new East City school will house about 675 students. At their Feb. 25 regular meeting, school board trustees are scheduled to receive a report on the East City school’s opening delay.
The last new public school to open in Peterborough was Roger Neilson Public School in 2004 in the city’s south end.
More to come.