The Musgrave field near École Willows Elementary School is the proposed site for daycare facilities, but some neighbours are concerned and are fighting against the proposal. (File Photo)

Oak Bay elementary school could have second floor added

Mid-century addition to Willows school had unbuilt plans for second storey

The answer to the question of adding space at École Willows elementary could be in building up, instead of building out.

Last week, the Greater Victoria School District’s operations, policy and planning committee submitted a new report that suggests a possible expansion on the 1960s built single-floor additions.

Willows is one of the only schools in SD61 which doesn’t offer before or after out-of-school care on site and demand has been identified as overwhelming, Walsh said. It does have out of school care run through the nearby Neigbhourhood Learning Centre for up to 120 children attending Willows school.

However, a group of parents rallied against the district’s proposal to place child care portables on the Willows field.

The second floor expansions at Willows is therefore a potential option to the loss of field space.

READ MORE : Childcare expansion: Willows school field would be divided

It would still take years to secure the plans and acquire funding but there aren’t any better solutions at the moment given the space crunch Willows faces, said Mark Walsh, SD61 secretary treasurer.

“Even with the anticipated catchement boundary review, which will address Willows’ capacity concerns, it would open up room for the amenities that other schools have,” Walsh said. “So I would anticipate that if child care was to come to the school it would need that [second floor] addition.”

Because it’s out-of-school-care, and not part of the education system, the district would apply for construction funding through the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“We’ve learned that the plans for the 1960s addition included an option to build [an unbuilt] second floor, so it’s believed it is structurally sound to do so,” Walsh said.

Willows has 29 classrooms in total, including the two portables added last year. A swelling student population in the 1950s and 1960s drove expansion at the school. The original brick schoolhouse was built in 1920 with additions in the 1950s that added 10 more rooms and an office. Then in 1964 another extension was built on the with four more classrooms added, followed by a 1969 addition of a library, office area, staff-room and six more classrooms.

Space is at a premium at Willows which can handle about 590 students and has been turning away students each year.

READ ALSO: Neighbours concerned over lack of consultations regarding Willows school

SD61 was recently successful in receiving approximately $4.5 million in funding to support 11 child care studios at Frank Hobbs, Tillicum, Doncaster, Vic West, Willows and Macaulay elementary schools. Construction is underway at Frank Hobbs with site preparation, material ordering and cutting proceeding, said a recent report that Walsh authored.

“We will continue building the remaining child care studios at Tolmie, assisted at times by our students and potentially our CUPE 382 apprentice program,” says the report.

“The green space resonates with us too, and so does the amenity space,” Walsh said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATED: Eco warriors shut down Douglas Street at Fort Street in protest

Environmentalists to call on banks to divert investments into green infrastructure

Human Rights museum hosts Coast Salish artist’s Witness Blanket

Artwork heads to Winnipeg after five years on the road

BC Ferries sees one-sailing wait at Swartz Bay terminal

The noon ferry is sold-out, while afternoon sailings are over 70 per cent full

Canada Womens Rugby Sevens Team flies in to #YYJ after Japan triumph

The team jet in this afternoon where they will stop to sign autographs and pose for photos

Documents show re-development of Saanich’s University Heights on hold

Third open house on proposed development postponed

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 staws each year

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Deadly synthetic drug found in Kamloops that puts users in ‘zombielike’ state

Interior Health warning says substance causes ‘speedy, trippy-like symptoms’ and hallucinations

Most Read