School still sitting empty

The dispute between St John the Evangelist and Metrolinx has reached City News.

City says the school is empty because Metrolinx and the TCDSB can’t agree on—of all things—construction of the playground.

The school was supposed to be finished by September, 2018. If an agreement is not signed by tomorrow, the school’s opening may be delayed again.

St John students have been bussed out of town for the past 8 years.

 

 

Saint John the Evangelist opening delayed, again

The St. John the Evangelist school opening will be delayed again. The new school, which was long overdue, was supposed to open in the fall of 2018; it will now open–hopefully–in time for students to return in September, 2019. 

Dave Bennett, who is running for trustee, says the delay is due to a legal dispute between the TCDSB and Metrolinx over the culvert; “Without these finalized agreements, culvert construction to replace the ditch between the school and the Metrolinx tunnel lid is on hold”.

 

Dave Bennett wants to be local trustee.

Dave Bennett outside the latest incarnation of St John the Evangelist Catholic School.

Dave Bennett is a busy man with deep ties to the Weston community. Apart from helping raise a family of four, he has been active as a volunteer in Weston for quite a while having been a member of the Weston Residents’ Association for many years and is now the chair. He is past president and current board member of the  Weston Heritage Conservation District, volunteers with Weston Minor Hockey, has coached house league for almost 15 years, has supervised a division for 9 and has been a VP for the past few years.

His role as a parent at St John the Evangelist Catholic School has now ended (his youngest child graduated last year) and  Dave is now community relations advisor to its Parent Council having been chair for many years. As a result of his knowledge and experience, he feels he can make a contribution in terms of  the way schools are run in York South Weston and has entered the race to become a school trustee with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. When asked about his chances of winning, Dave feels that his chances are pretty good.  This is not a surprise considering that Mr. Bennett is used to achieving things in his life.

Dave says that the new school was long overdue and tells me that the old (now demolished) building was really two additions joined together. The original school at 23 George Street was added on to when more space was needed and later when enrolment increased, the older building was replaced with yet another addition. In later years the school needed twelve portables to accommodate students. The new building will be almost twice the size of the old one and will even have room for 36 day-care students. He modestly points out that many people are responsible for the new building’s existence, including former MPP Laura Albanese. He is obviously proud of the new school and easily rattles off facts and figures along with other details of its unique construction. At the moment, SJTE students are being accommodated a few minutes’ away at St Philip Neri on Beverly Hills Drive near Jane and Wilson.

He proudly points out that the new school field rests on a styrofoam base inside a giant concrete container covering the UP Express and GO Train tracks. The styrofoam helps reduce the load on the tunnel while not being deep enough for the field to float during heavy rains .

The new school playground over the UP Express and GO rail tracks can be seen in the upper middle of the image.

While his children are now too old to attend the new school, he feels some satisfaction in knowing that future generations of Westonians will enjoy the new facilities which will open in September 2019.

Getting back to his passion for hockey, Dave says his neighbours are always impressed by the timing of the Bennett annual backyard rinks, built following Farmers’ Almanac winter forecasts. Dave says that the Almanac hasn’t let him down yet. Based on their forecast, expect to see the family rink by mid-December at the latest.