Written By: Friday, September 8th 2017

While the school year is just getting underway, the Bluewater District School Board is already thinking ahead to next year.

They’ve applied to the Ministry of Education for a number of projects including two new schools.

As a result of last year’s, sometimes raucous, accommodation review the board says they have applied to replace Beavercrest Community School in Markdale with a ‘community hub’.

The school was under threat of closure when the community rallied.

Grey Highlands offered money to keep the school open.

Chapman’s Ice Cream and a local developer pledged $2 million EACH to keep the school open.

In the end, it bought them time while the school board figured something out.

Superintendent Rob Cummings tells Dock News the application for a new Beavercrest includes a commitment from Kids N Us for up to 39 child care spaces and an Ontario Early Years centre.

It would be built on the same location as the current school.

Cummings says the money pledged from the community would come into play when and if their plans are approved by the province.

“When we hear back from the province in terms of the overall placement of the proposal we can speak more definitely in terms of what that will provide for the community hub. And there’s also been letters of interest and support from other sports groups that may be interested in joining us on the Beavercrest project.”

The other new school the board has applied for is Hillcrest Elementary in Owen Sound.

Cummings says Hillcrest is getting a little older and a replacement would do very well.

“Especially now that the other schools have closed and enrollment seems to be settling down, growing a little even. Now is an excellent opportunity to put in for a replacement.”

He says it would be more modern, energy efficient and accessible.

It would also be built on the current site in the west end.

Cummings is hoping to hear back from the Ministry in the next two to three months.

The board is also looking for funding to create child care spaces at Amabel Sauble.

There are a number of other projects on the priority list including:

* $2.5 million for upgrades to Holland-Chatsworth that include parking, bus loop, septic repairs and new windows
* $1.5 million for upgrades to GC Huston for HVAC, windows, doors and interior renovations
* $600,000 for renovations at Bruce Peninsula District for a new roof, washroom and classroom upgrades
* $600,000 for renovations at Grey Higlands Secondary for work on the gym and lighting
* $300,000 for Kincardine Township-Tiverton for parking, storm water issues and HVAC
* $250,000 for Normanby for resurfacing the parking lot and interior renos
* $250,000 for Egremont for repaving and lighting upgrades

There’s also another $6.7 million going towards phase two of the upgrades being made to OSDSS, formerly West Hill, in Owen Sound.