Tuesday, November 13, 2007

new school, same road

The Sir William Osler elementary school opened to students today. 640 of them.

No changes to the roadway environment as of yet.

No word on when, or for that matter even if, any changes to improve safety will occur.

Time to start digging...

Here's news from the daily:

A new chapter for students

The Hamilton Spectator

Sir William Osler school offers escarpment views, latest technology

DUNDAS (Nov 13, 2007)

The location was debated for years. Labour spats delayed it for months. But today, Sir William Osler Elementary School will open for Dundas students.

The two-storey school on a steep site on Governor's Road was a buzz of activity yesterday, as staff unpacked boxes, families with jogger strollers took tours, and principal Maria Rowles played hostess in a long-awaited new home.

"We have 640 students. Not only did their moms and dad come, their grandparents came," said Rowles, estimating 1,000 visitors toured the school. The school is named for William Osler, a celebrated physician raised in Dundas.

Its opening was delayed by provincial labour disputes, which kept students in old schools to which they'd already bid farewell. It also created the challenge of moving a school during the year.

"It's a challenge because we're operating the same staff in two sites."

Osler is designed on a template, so it's similar to other new public schools Ray Lewis, Gatestone, Ancaster Meadow and new Lawfield elementary, which opens Monday on the Mountain.

Until now, kids planning to attend Lawfield were at Vern Ames (junior kindergarten to Grade 5) and Seneca (grades 6 to 8). Kids attending Osler were at Central Park (junior kindergarten to Grade 4) and Dundas District (grades 5 to 8), and Dundana students had been at either of the two feeders.

Parent Brian Peirce said his two kids would've liked to finish the school year at Central Park and Dundas District, rather than move to Osler mid-year. He adds the new school is "beautiful" on a site that had been a rolling, sparsely wooded area with soccer fields.

"It's been long, but it's here," said parent Eva Fisher, who thinks Osler's 9:10 a.m. start will create traffic chaos because it's too close to bell times at Highland secondary and St. Bernadette Catholic elementary, both on the same side of Governor's Road as Osler.

A parent survey narrowly chose the 9:10 a.m. start time at Osler. Rowles said parents were split: those with young kids worried an early start would be hard to accomplish, while parents of upper-year kids wanted an early start to leave time for after-school activities.

The school is a piece of work: extra-wide lockers to share; light streaming in from floor-to-ceiling windows; learning "pods" outside classrooms; a gym some colleges would dream of.

Richard Francki, senior manager of facilities, said the $10-million school lets the board close two others, so it saves on energy, transportation and staffing.

With room for 667 students, it doesn't yet have portables. New schools also avoid lead paint, asbestos, and hot summer days without air-conditioning, which make school less appealing.

And with stunning views of the Escarpment and rolling yards that made stormwater diversion crucial, it looks like tobogganing is a real possibly.

Dundas trustee Jessica Brennan said one argument in favour of using the proposed Veterans Park site was that it was flatter, so grading wouldn't add to the cost. Still, she said she was thrilled to finally open the doors.

Rowles, who is proud of the school's escarpment views, notes she has also been able to buy 21st century tools for the new building. It has nine SMART Boards and nine other screens that function like an interactive digital update on the classic chalkboard.

See a slide show presentation of the new Sir William Osler Elementary School.
For more go to thespec.com


Anonymous said...

osler sucks

jkw** said...

let the kids go back to District

Governors Road said...

The move to bigger schools does feed the problem of kids using active modes to get there, since it means longer distances for the kids in the larger catchment area.
I agree with jkw, and with the idea of small, local, walkable schools.
I would love to hear why "osler sucks" especially from a student perspective.
You might want to visit radiofreeschool> for ideas about alternatives to schools altogether...

Anonymous said...

because of the traffic now on governors road, and many issues in the school, I, and many others think SWO should be a school for grades k-5 and the grades 6,7 and 8 return to Dundas District.

Anonymous said...

no warm fuzzies here. just cold inpersonal, need better admin -

Anonymous said...

OSLER SUCKS! Bring back district lets the little kids go there! but let 6 7 8 go back to district osler is the worst school ever

Anonymous said...

let grades 6-8 go back to district

Anonymous said...

i agree with the last comments. it would be a lot better if grades 6-8 returned to dundas district.

Anonymous said...

please lets all work together and help save district.