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School gets new childcare spaces

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Two Oshawa high schools will be receiving more childcare spaces, classrooms and more thanks to new funds from the province.

The province has announced it will be providing $137 million to go toward the construction of four new schools and 16 major additions and renovations, along with 19 new child care rooms across Ontario.

Four of those rooms will be coming to R.S. McLaughlin Collegiate Vocational Institute, resulting in 73 new childcare spaces.

Eastdale Collegiate and Vocational Institute is also set to benefit from the funding, which is good news to Jeff Maharaj, Eastdale’s principal, who says the spaces are very much needed

“There’s a need for affordable childcare in this area. I know our neighbours next door at Vincent Massey (Public School), they’re not able to provide it because of their footprint,” Maharaj, who had not yet been notified of the funding approval when contacted by The Oshawa Express, says.

“Part of it would be to change our footprint over here and possibly change our building to fit the needs of the community.”

According to the Durham District School Board, Eastdale will be receiving a four-classroom addition, a new cafeteria, a new kitchen and a new youth hub. There are also plans to renovate the school’s current cafeteria and kitchen into two new special education rooms, one culinary arts room and one cosmetology room.

“Of course, any support from the government to upgrade schools is always good news,” adds Joyce Thomas, R.S. McLaughlin’s principal.

“We’re located right beside Adelaide McLaughlin (Public School)…so it’s a service that we’ll provide to support the community.”

R.S. McLaughlin is set to receive an addition of two new classrooms, two new special education rooms and a youth hub. As part of the expansion, there will also be a four-room childcare centre.

May Nazar, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, tells The Oshawa Express in an email that Durham District School Board initially submitted a total of six projects for funding.

According to a news release announcing the new funding, this project is part of the province’s commitment of $160 billion over the next 12 years for infrastructure projects announced in the latest budget.

“Improving learning environments for our students is one of the best infrastructure investments we can make,” states Liz Sandals, the province’s education minister, in a news release.

“Our government is proud to invest in capital projects that are bringing students and communities together, reducing the cost of under-used space, and reinvesting savings back into the classroom.”

Nazar adds that it is expected projects across the province under this new funding announcement will be completed in time for the 2019-2020 school year.

“Individual projects may differ in completion times due to a number of factors, for example, municipal site plan approvals and the nature of the project,” she says.

“Typically, additions and renovations to schools do not require as much time to complete as the construction of a new or replacement school.”