London school with 22 portables could get relief if city greenlights land deal
An innovative land deal could offer relief to the overcrowding at Sir Arthur Currie Public School in northwest London.
Built to accommodate 533 students in 2017, the school now has about 1,000 pupils with almost half relegated to 22 portable classrooms that surround the building.
“It is overcrowded here,” says father of two junior kindergarten students Branko Vojnovic. “In the afternoons we have a rush hour of traffic, so there’s physical safety (concerns), and with the COVID-19 situation we also have the physical distancing situation.”
The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) received approval from the Ministry of Education to build a new 802 student school in the area, but hasn’t been able to secure a utility-serviced property — until now.
In a new letter to city hall’s Planning and Environment Committee, the board outlines an agreement-in-principle with landowner Auburn Developments.
Auburn will sell a portion of its Foxhollow North subdivision on the south side of Sunningdale Road, east of Hyde Park Road, to the TVDSB, if city hall permits the townhouses intended for the site to instead be constructed on the north side of Sunningdale.
Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan says the deal could expedite construction of a new school by years, saying, “What I am suggesting is we proceed with allowing that land, which frees up the capacity for the new school, but we do so under the provisions of the London Plan, and with and environmental review designation.”
Council would have to greenlight construction on the north side of Sunningdale Road earlier than originally planned, but Morgan suggests population growth in his ward requires action.
“The situation at Sir Arthur Currie School is at a critical state. We have 22 portables outside,” he adds.
The TVDSB tells CTV News that if the deal moves forward, once they have title to the land, a school will open in 42 to 48 months.
It’s not an overnight solution, but gets the proverbial ball rolling.
Sir Arthur Currie Public School Principal Sue Bruyns says parents and school staff have been very understanding about the portables, but news of a second school is exciting.
“We’re thrilled, and we look forward to partnering or sistering with that school once the plans are in placem,” says Bruyns.
The planning committee will consider directing staff to prepare documents for the required rezoning at a meeting on Monday.