WRDSB planning $900,000 more in renovations to administration building
Published Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:00PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:34PM EDT
Less than six months after coming under fire for spending $1 million to renovate the boardroom at its administration building, the Waterloo Region District School Board is looking to move ahead with more work at the facility.
Included in the budget currently proposed for 2014-15 is $900,000 worth of work at the Ardelt Avenue building.
That includes money for two separate projects -- $470,000 to convert existing space into a large meeting room, and $430,000 for heating, ventilation and air conditioning work as well as asbestos removal.
Marilyn Allen, the board’s executive superintendent of business and financial services, says little work has been done on the former shoe factory since the school board purchased it in the 1980s.
“This building is an old building,” she said Thursday.
“The heating systems are failing. The air conditioning systems are failing. We have a long list of deferred capital maintenance on this building.”
After an unsuccessful attempt to separate the renovations from the rest of the budget Wednesday night, trustee Cindy Watson was the lone vote against the proposal.
She says parents she’s spoken to would rather see money spent in classrooms than on the administration office.
“Parents and staff have made lots of sacrifices this past year, and will next year as well,” she told CTV News.
“It just doesn’t seem like the right timing to be able to justify spending this money on the education centre.”
Specifically, Watson questions the need for the 200-seat meeting room, when the board already owns gymnasiums and other large spaces in its facilities.
Allen estimates that the WRDSB currently spends $200,000 per year to rent space outside its facilities for large-scale meetings, and says school gyms are normally in use.
“There’s not a lot of space available at the time we need the space,” she said.
Earlier this year, the board spent $1 million to renovate their boardroom.
At the time, trustees defended it as a good deal for taxpayers because the work was approved in 2012 – when the board’s financial outlook was rosier – and would have brought financial penalties if cancelled at a late date.