Province approves funding for $8.3 million expansion at Masonville Public School

A north London, Ont. elementary school has secured funding from the Thames Valley District School Board and provincial government for a much-need expansion.

The plan calls for 14 new classrooms, a double gymnasium and new library centre

Over a dozen portables are set up outside of Masonville Public School to accommodate over 200 students. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

An elementary school in north London has secured funding from the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) and provincial government for a much-needed expansion and renovation.

Hundreds of students at Masonville Public School are currently attending classes in over a dozen portables because enrolment far exceeds the building's capacity.

The school, built in 1952, has space for 363 students. Enrolment is now over 600 students, which means more than 200 students have been attending classes in 14 portables installed on school grounds.

The former Liberal government originally approved $5.9 million for an expansion project in January, 2018. According to the school, unexpected enrolment growth required more space for the project, leading to a recommendation by senior administration to allocate an extra $2.4 million of the board's surplus to fund the project.

In total, the project will cost $8.3-million and approval has been granted by the board and Ministry of Education.

What students can look forward to

The expansion will include the construction of a new addition, along with renovations inside the original building.

The addition will include:

  • 12 classrooms
  • A learning support room
  • Washrooms
  • Double gymnasium

The renovation will include:

  • The addition of two new classrooms
  • Transforming the original gymnasium into a library and staff room
  • Turning the existing library into an arts classroom
  • Other improvements

Going forward, TVDSB staff are putting the last details of the project together before getting the final approval from the ministry to put the work out to tender.

Earlier concerns over funding

Back in November, board members raised concerns over whether the Ford government would honour the Liberal's previous promise for funding.

Former MPP Deb Matthews announced an investment of $67.4 million for new schools and additions in London and area at Masonville Public School on Jan. 24, 2018. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

The previous government's original announcement included Masonville Public School's expansion funding as part of a $67.4-million investment to a number of schools in the region.

The board was in a holding pattern, waiting for funding approval by the ministry, stating if projects weren't approved by mid-December, the project would be delayed by at least a year.

Other TVDSB projects in early stages

According to the TVDSB, the board is working on detailed designs for additions and renovations at Tweedsmuir Public School, along with the $14-million construction of a new school in the community of Summerside in southeast London.

Details of both projects will be made public once they're approved by the ministry for tender. The board plans to close Fairmont Public School once the projects are complete, which is less than one kilometre away from Tweedsmuir Public School.

While no timeline has been specified, TVDSB says it's hopeful the projects will be expedited by the province as soon as possible.