Much needed renovation funding announced to rejuvenate downtown Stratford Central
The Avon Maitland District School Board is pleased to announce Ministry of Education funding of $5,135,207.00 for renovations to Stratford Central School. The Board submitted a request for funding to address needed upgrades that will allow us to update and maintain the school.
“Ontario is proud to support the preservation of Stratford Central School. By investing in this renovation project, we can help provide students in Stratford with access to a high-quality, modern learning environment that supports their well-being and achievement, while ensuring that Stratford Central continues to serve the community for years to come,” said Minister of Education Indira Naidoo-Harris.
“We are thrilled that the Ministry recognized our need for upgrades and is providing us with the funding to do the work,” said Chair of the Board Randy Wagler.
The AMDSB plans to further augment this funding to enhance accessibility and renovations in Stratford Central and for ongoing improvements at Stratford Northwestern. Once completed, the rejuvenated buildings will provide programming benefits to all of our students in the two schools.
Due to the extensive nature of the renovations and demolition required to the 1958 wing, Stratford Central will not be available for use during the 2019-2020 school year, and so during that time Stratford Central students and staff will be relocated to Stratford Northwestern and possibly other alternative school locations, which are yet to be determined.
Construction is anticipated to begin in the early summer of 2019. However, consultation with our families and stakeholders will take place in the near future in preparation for the update to the building and future program offerings.
The Avon Maitland District School Board wishes to thank the Ministry of Education for its financial support in helping us to revitalize public education in Stratford.
Frequently Asked Questions
AMDSB has anticipated questions that you may already have. Some can be answered now. A committee will consult and work to answer others. Please read the FAQs below and then submit any new ones you would like considered. AMDSB will consider all submitted questions as we work together to build a plan for the future of your child (children) at Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern.
Who will be part of the information sharing?
A committee is being formed to run the consultation process. There will be opportunities for students, parents, staff and the broader community for sharing information.
How will parents/students know when meetings are happening?
Information will be posted on school websites, through school messenger, and school social media platforms. A dedicated webpage to hold all information regarding the process will be developed.
What types of things will be asked in the consultations?
The Ministry funding is directed at specific renovations so AMDSB is limited on how much can be done. Students and staff will be asked for input regarding the upgrades at Stratford Central. Parents, students and stakeholders will be asked for input regarding the Transition planning and longer term issues.
Renovations at Stratford Central
Why are the renovations being done?
AMDSB is looking at ways to improve programming for public students in Stratford and to upgrade an older, but much loved institution in the downtown core. At the same time, improved accessibility is needed in SC. This Ministry funding augmented by some Board funds allows for the work to be done.
Why now? Why wasn’t this done in the past?
For several years AMDSB explored many options, none of which were able to come to fruition. This is the best opportunity to rejuvenate and sustain the building for the long term, by combining the Ministry funding augmented with Board funding.
What is the timing for construction?
AMDSB will undertake consultation, follow and meet Ministry processes prior to proceeding with construction. It is anticipated that work will commence late June – early July 2019.
What work is planned?
The 1958 wing will be demolished and rebuilt in a way that allows the alignment of floors with the remaining building, although rebuilding smaller, which is part of the Ministry’s criteria for the funding. The plan is to augment this funding with Board funds to address accessibility throughout the school (including an elevator and barrier free washrooms on each level) and additional renovation work in the core of the building to create a newly rejuvenated building for the benefit of our students.
Explain your reference to the Ministry criteria about building smaller
The Ministry requires that school boards use up any empty student space before being funded to add space. That means AMDSB is required to use surplus space at Stratford Northwestern as a stipulation of funding to rebuild smaller space at Stratford Central. (Ministry of Education, Education Funding 2018-19)
So what does that look like?
Renovations are contingent on ensuring efficient use of all student spaces at both Central and Northwestern, as a result Stratford Central will have fewer student spaces after renovations.
The vision is to timetable the two schools so that students are able to take courses regardless of site, therefore opening up more choice for students.
How long will construction take?
The plan is to complete all work within a year, with SC student learning taking place elsewhere during that year, sites to be determined.
What does a move of all students from SC for the construction year look like?
AMDSB plans to consult before making that decision. Having researched other boards, one practice would be to move all staff and students into another school. One of the schools would take an ‘early’ shift and one school a ‘later’ shift, with transportation adjusted accordingly. The working committee will consult with various stakeholders to determine the best way to move forward that will make the transition as smooth as possible.
How will the school’s needs be addressed during this year?
AMDSB anticipates many of the school-based decisions to be worked through during the Transition process at the school level. The school administrators and professional teams in place to help them are highly regarded.
What about extracurriculars? How will they work?
This is a good example of a school-based question that would be addressed in the Transition process. It is possible that space in other facilities will be needed to accommodate gym time and any other extracurricular clubs/teams that might need additional space during the renovations.
How will the school bus transportation change?
That won’t be determined until after consultations are held.
The following are questions our committee is working on and will be answering. Updates will be posted here as more information becomes available.
Student/Family concerns in Transition Year:
How will extracurriculars be maintained?
When will you know where students will go in the Transition year?
How can AMDSB guarantee my child’s education won’t be negatively affected by this?
Will there be extra counselors or staff to help with an anticipated increase in stress over this?
Will students be able to take electives?
Will there be enough classroom space/teachers to offer all of the programming SC currently offers?
What about grade 11 and 12 students who are currently in grade 9 and 10 who have planned their My Blueprint and post-secondary pathway based on current course availability?
Will there be extra spaces opened in online courses to accommodate potential lack of space in 4U courses?
Student/Family concerns long term:
What type of enhanced programming will be offered when the renovations are complete and SC reopens?
How does the integrated programming work?
Can you guarantee that my child goes back to SC after the renovation year is complete?
Will the schools be able to offer more programming than they currently offer?
Can students continue to enrol in either school?
How will graduation be determined if students are taking courses from both Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern?
Help us build our plan
More formal public consultations will be held, but for now, we invite you to share any immediate questions you have regarding the Stratford Schools renovation project using the link below.