— Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
A site has been selected for a new 6,500-square-metre elementary school in Conception Bay South, and residents are being asked to offer their thoughts on the proposed location.
Late last month, the town sent a development notice to residents about an application to build the school at 831-835 Conception Bay Highway in Kelligrews. That land is zoned residential, but constructing a school there is considered a discretionary use for it.
That location is on the opposite side of the highway almost directly across from St. Edward’s School, which is a K-6 school. The new school will be built to accommodate 600 K-7 students and have 31 classrooms, according to the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD). Its design will also accommodate full-day kindergarten and allow for future expansion if necessary.
Zoning for the school has not been determined, though NLESD did confirm it will feed Frank Roberts Junior High and Queen Elizabeth Regional High.
C.B.S. Mayor Ken McDonald is strongly in favour of getting a new elementary school built on that land.
“I think it’s an ideal location actually,” he told The Telegram. “It’s readily accessible right from Route 60, so you’re not shoving it in on one of the side roads and increasing traffic on any of our local roads.”
McDonald also likes the fact the school will be built at least 60 metres from the road. He said there is a significant need for a new elementary school in the area.
“We’ve had extensions built on some of our elementary schools over the past number of years, but it seems like as soon as they open up an extension, it’s not enough,” he said.
NLESD took into consideration the land’s close proximity to students and its layout. Possible environmental concerns were also considered before settling on the site. The location was initially identified by a consultant hired by the Department of Transportation and Works and later approved by the board of trustees for the former Eastern School District. The land’s purchase has not been finalized.
According to McDonald, the land could have been the site of a potential subdivision with more than 30 homes. The developer did get the land filled in with rock before the option of using it for a school was presented, said the mayor.
The town is accepting feedback from residents on the new school’s proposed location until May 20. At that point, McDonald expects the town will need to look at whether the matter merits further public consultation.
“Like everything that takes place in the town, if it’s something people have concerns with, it doesn’t take long for them to get in touch with staff and elected officials to voice those concerns. I haven’t heard one negative comment since this has been put out there.”
With a new elementary school apparently on the horizon for C.B.S., McDonald hopes a new junior high school will soon follow, noting there is an obvious need for additional capacity at the next level.