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

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Parishioners bear the weight of a large wooden cross on Good Friday

Good Friday Passion Procession winds through streets of Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

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

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read