Work is well underway for the two-storey expansion at RC Garnett Elementary which will add eight classrooms to the overcrowded K to 5 school that also has portables and very busy playgrounds. Picture from RC Garnett’s website

Growing pains felt at RC Garnett Elementary

District commends parents, students, staff during construction. PAC asks for enrolment cap

Parents from R.C. Garnett Elementary have asked the school district to look at capping enrolment at the overcrowded K to 5 facility.

Assistant superintendent Mal Gill provided the board of education with an update on the expansion taking place at the Willoughby school at the last board of education meeting.

Two storeys are being added to the northeast corner of RC Garnett, which will add eight classrooms and two bathrooms.

The hope is to have the expansion complete by December, said Gill.

Construction began at spring break and is well underway.

But the expansion doesn’t mean there won’t be portables at the school, said Gill.

In fact, the school is getting additional portables, with enrollment projected to increase year after year at the K-5 school.

Currently, the population of the school is 454 students with it toppling 500 by next September, said Gill.

The school was built under capacity at a maximum of 192 students, More than 300 students enrolled when it opened in 2006.

Gill said the PAC has concerns with the high enrollment.

“The high enrollment puts great strain on the playground and parking,” Gill said. There are currently two playgrounds but one is owned by the Township.

The PAC would like to expand the size of their playground but can’t because of the portable located beside it, he said.

The PAC is asking that the school be maxed out at 510 students.

“They (parents, students and staff) have been inconvenienced but they have been amazing through all this,” Gill said.

As someone who lives in the area, trustee David Tod asked that the district be “mindful of their (the PAC’s) requests because they have been through a lot.”

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