Nfld. & Labrador

Vandalized Grand Falls-Windsor school set to be demolished

The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is benching plans to use the old Exploits Valley High Maple Division building for recreational activities, and it will now likely be torn down.

Cost too much money to upgrade old gymnasium, says Mayor Barry Manuel

Exploits Valley High Maple Division, originally known as Grand Falls Academy, is slated to be demolished in the new year. (Google Maps)

The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is scrapping plans to use the old Exploits Valley High Maple Division building for recreational activities.

"Turned out the gymnasium isn't in as good shape as what we had hoped," said Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Barry Manuel.

It didn't make sense at the end of the day to invest money into an old gymnasium.- Barry Manuel, mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor

"When we consider the rest of the building, the need for demolition is what becomes a reality."

The building has been vacated for years, and was originally called Grand Falls Academy.

The town needs more recreational space, so it thought the old building was the perfect solution.

Council was working with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District to take over the school, or at least part of it, for that purpose.

Costs too high

A HAZMAT remediation study and other work showed it would cost more money to fix the gym than it would be worth.

Manuel said the building is not only run down, but has also been vandalized.

"It didn't make sense at the end of the day to invest money into an old gymnasium, not to that degree, certainly," Manuel told the Central Morning Show.

Mayor Barry Manuel is hopeful there are other buildings more suitable to use as recreational space. (CBC)

Now the town and the school board have to decide what to do with the building.

It's possible the town could take over the school, demolish it and then sell the land, or the board could take on that responsibility.

Manuel said he would like to see the land used for seniors' housing, which is in great demand in his community.

Town eyeing another school for space

The town is also looking for alternative solutions for recreational space, and Manuel said one idea is using Millcrest Academy, which was closed this year.

Can't keep old buildings for the sake of keeping old buildings.- Barry Manuel, Mayor of Grand Falls-Windsor

"We feel if we had more gym space, certainly we'd be able to accommodate more recreational activities and that's good for the community," said Manuel.

Manuel said there are people who will be sad to see Exploits Valley High Maple Division go, but it's in the best interest of the community to see it torn down.

"It's always sentimental when you lose an old building. But I guess when you look at the practical side of things, we can't be keeping old buildings just for the sake of keeping old buildings."

The town and school board will take a few months to decide what to do with the school. Manuel said he hopes that by the spring the town can put out request for proposals to develop the land.

About the Author

Julia Cook

Journalist

Julia Cook reports from CBC's bureau in Gander, primarily for the Central Morning Show.

With files from the Central Morning Show

now