PEI

Sherwood Elementary replacement to be built with environment in mind

A construction project in Charlottetown is going to become more than just a badly needed school. 

Project will cost about $23 million

'It will become the new norm for how we operate, how we design buildings, how we build buildings,' says Infrastructure Minister Steven Myers. (Laura Meader/CBC)

A Charlottetown elementary school long overdue for renovation or replacement will be rebuilt using a more environmentally-friendly design than past school projects.

Sherwood Elementary has been set for replacement since 2017, and after a number of delays, Minister of Infrastructure Steven Myers said the province wanted to use the project as an opportunity to explore greener infrastructure.

He said the entire school will use electric heat and will not have an oil-burning boiler. He also said the building will be designed with the option of putting solar panels on the roof sometime in the future. 

"It's net-zero ready in that we have the capability of putting solar on the roof, and enough solar to offset the uses in the school," Myers said.

The Energy Act would have to be amended to allow for the solar panels to be added to the school, said Myers.

Myers said a net-zero building has little impact on the environment in terms of emissions and energy use, and this project will serve as a template for future work.

"It will become the new norm for how we operate, how we design buildings, how we build buildings. It'll be fully electric. It will have high-efficiency standards."

Myers says he hopes construction will start sometime this spring. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The project will cost about $23 million.

"We are going to reduce our carbon footprint with the building," he said.

'Long overdue'

Myers said he hopes construction will start sometime this spring. He said the building is just a step in the process to reach 2050 carbon emissions targets.

The new school will be built on land between Sherwood Elementary and the rink in the area — stretching in behind where the current school sits.

Sherwood Elementary principal Jean Boudreau says the project will mean 20,000 square feet of additional space. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Parents and school officials — including the school's principal — have been asking for a new school in Sherwood for years.

"I'd say this is probably one of the oldest facilities in the Public Schools Branch and it's long overdue," said the school's principal Jean Boudreau.

Increased space

He said education is different now than when the school was first built. Boudreau said the new school will have breakout spaces, offices for resource teachers and councillors and be better set up to deliver things like breakfast programs.

"We're probably going to add another 20,000 square feet of space to the school," he said.

"Our hallways in here are quite narrow and when wintertime hits and we have coats in the hallway it gets even narrower. And in these COVID times when we are trying to keep kids separated from one another, it is a bit of a challenge."

He said people have been asking for the change so long that he has a letter from a home and school association from the late '90s asking for the building to be replaced.

"I'm very happy it's going to happen," Boudreau said.

Jennifer Spencer, on the executive of the Sherwood Home and School, says she is happy there will be a new school and it is just an added bonus it will be energy efficient. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The province expects to award the contract for the project in about a month and the new school is scheduled to open by June 2024.

Jennifer Spencer, on the executive of the Sherwood Home and School, said she would like to see things done a bit sooner.

"When they originally released that we were getting a new school, the timelines were much faster so we were disappointed that it's been held up but excited it's moving forward."

Spencer said she is happy the area is finally going to get the school "it deserves."

"We needed this school for a long time."

She said it is an added bonus that the school will be more energy efficient.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Laura Meader

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