By Gord Bowes, News staff
Staff and the contractors working “around the clock” to have the addition at St. Thomas More Secondary School open for the first day of school, says the chair of Hamilton’s Catholic school board.
There will be some interiors work still to be completed, said Pa Daly, but that work will take place in the evenings or on weekends.
“The expectation is it will be open and we are working very hard for that,” he said.
With the expanded building, portables have been replaced with parking spots at STM.
The new addition on the front of the west Mountain institution has alleviated the need for most of the external class space.
There are still two portables packs on the south side for 12 classrooms and two on the north side for storage, but it’s about 20 fewer than have been on site in recent years.
“They’re still there, but there are a heck of a lot less,” said Daly.
The portables are still needed in the short term, but enrolment is expected to decline in the coming years and that should alleviate the need for them, said Daly.
Enrolment at St. Thomas More for the start of the year is projected at 1,895. Last year, there were 1,910. The most students the school has served was 1,929 in 2009-10.
The capacity at STM, however, was just 1,011 prior to the addition. Now it is rated at 1,326, but Vince Ramelli, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board’s manager of planning, transportation and statistics, noted scheduling and programming of classes allows the school to be able to accommodate more students than the indicated physical capacity of the building.
The $5.8-million 25,930-square-foot, two-storey addition houses 15 classrooms, a meeting room, additional washrooms, a new main feature entrance on the second level with barrier-free access and a glass stairway. There is also a new main entrance lobby and additional parking spaces were created where portable classrooms were removed.
The Catholic board has also projects underway or completed at two Mountain elementary schools, all for the addition of full-day kindergarten classes. Two rooms at St. Marguerite D’Youville and three at St. Terese de Lisieux have been renovated. A two-room, 2,000 sq. ft. addition at St. Terese is on target for opening Nov. 1, said Daly.
In Upper Stoney Creek, the $36.7-million Bishop Ryan Secondary School at Rymal Road East and Dakota Boulevard is still slated for a late fall opening.
The public school board has also been busy over the summer getting ready to add full-day kindergarten at five elementary schools.
A two-room addition at Templemead and one-room addition at Ray Lewis will be finished for the first day of school, said a board spokesperson.
A two-room addition at Huntington Park and renovation of four rooms at R.A. Riddell won’t be finished until Sept. 16 and work at Ridgemount will not be completed until Sept. 30.
Work at Huntington Park, Riddell and Ridgemount is partially complete. Temporary space has been arranged to accommodate staff and students until those projects are completed.