A New School for Davisville!
On October 26, 2015, our MPP Dr. Eric Hoskins announced $14.7 million in provincial funding for a new Davisville Junior Public School. This is great news for our community and our entire area, as the new school will also make it possible for the TDSB to deal with the enrollment pressures affecting all the schools surrounding Davisville.
To read the announcement, click here.
The Need for a New School at Davisville
Since 2010, in collaboration with parents, community members and other stakeholders, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB or Board) has been working on options for redeveloping the Davisville school site.
The most realistic option will have a new school building constructed in the space between the current school and Davisville Ave. Once the new school opens, the existing building would be torn down and a new field and playscape would take its place along Millwood Road.
Why does the TDSB want to do this? There are two main reasons the Board has for redeveloping the Davisville school site: First and most important, our enrollment is growing and the current building is unable to accommodate this growth. Second, our school building has a growing maintenance backlog, which would be prohibitively expensive and disruptive to address.
Enrollment at Davisville Continues to Grow
Our community is growing, with condo developments that attract young families (a global trend in major cities), new families with children moving into existing homes and the arrival of immigrants.
School capacity until recently was 384 students by provincial standards. Reconfiguring some spaces to provide more kindergarten classrooms and other measurement changes recently raised this to 512 students. Even with these changes, our school is well over capacity.
In reality, this reconfiguration has not prevented overcrowding. Half of our classrooms are smaller than the provincial standard. These classrooms were purpose-built for the Metro Toronto School for the Deaf, which was an important part of our school community for decades, and which is now in a new location.
There are now nearly 600 students enrolled, with a projected enrollment of 668 students for 2016 and much more growth expected in our area in the next few years.
Our School Building has a Very Costly Maintenance Backlog
The existing school building is in need of major, costly repairs, including the boiler and foundation. The projected repair cost was over $8.3 million based on a report that is now several years old. It may now be in excess of $12 million and will continue to increase.
Davisville has the second highest (meaning second worst) Facility Condition Index score in the TDSB. The Ontario government’s “Prohibitive to Repair” score is 65. This means anything above that score is better replaced than repaired. Davisville’s score is 169.
Our Community has a Plan to Help Fund a New School
The area around our school has few public amenities. Our school site presents an excellent opportunity to become a community hub by creating community space as part of the building of a new school.
In the past five years, our community developed and endorsed a redevelopment strategy that offers a realistic, cost-saving way a new school could be built. That design plan would involve selling about one quarter of our school’s land, moving parking to underneath a new school and keeping the same amount of playground and field space.
Much has changed since that design plan was completed in May of 2012, however our community has continued to seek ways to collaborate with the TDSB and other stakeholders to meet our growing community’s needs.
Davisville has the only site in our area that can support a new, larger school.
What Happens Next?
The October 26, 2015 announcement of funding for a new school at Davisville will enable the TDSB to begin planning and construction of a new school on the Davisville site.
Want More Info?
For more context on the school needs and student population growth in our area, we have provided some background information and a page with information on the TDSB’s Davisville-Yonge Accommodation Review Committee process, which took place in the 2009-2010 school year. Our school council’s participation in any redevelopment will be focused on the new school building and grounds, yet we are aware that a school does not exist in isolation from the surrounding neighbourhood. If the school has well-designed connections with – and separation from – the rest of any new development and the surrounding neighbourhood, the school will be better and so will the neighbourhood. Our Urban Design Resources page has more information for parents, teachers and other members of our community interested in seeing how this kind of integrated urban design has been applied to other development projects in our area.