Petawawa grants school lease extension 0
SEAN CHASE Councillor Frank Cirella (left) listens intently as Loran Young, principal of the Petawawa Adult High School, asks town council to consider extending the school’s lease at the former fire hall on Victoria Street until 2013. The school will have another four months at that location.
PETAWAWA - With its new home undergoing renovations, the Petawawa Adult High School has received a lease extension at its current location on Victoria Street.
Council granted a request from the Renfrew County District School Board to extend its deal to host the adult school at the former Petawawa Village fire hall until the end of next January. The board will undertake the total cost for running the building.
The board’s Continuing and Community Education Department has found a new space to rent at 3482 Petawawa Blvd. The tenant, businessman Cam Bimm, has applied for rezoning, however, the location requires adequate parking and a drainage report from engineers.
Addressing council, Loran Young, principal of the Petawawa Adult High School, said the building will require renovations in order to covert the space into classrooms with an office and washrooms. The board cannot commit to renovations until a lease is signed, he added.
“I feel we provide a valuable service to the community,” said Mr. Young. “We would like to stay in the village but we need more time before that can become a reality.”
The fire hall was slated for decommissioning in 2013. Last September, council extended the annual lease rate of $7,200 at 1064 Victoria St. for a one-year period until they could determine the future of the 3,096-square foot building. The town had shelled out $19,291 in 2011 to maintain the building for its clients resulting in an annual operating deficit of $12,891.
However, an infrastructure life study of all facilities run by the parks and recreation department found that the building would need $236,500 in capital upgrades and repairs over the next 10 years. In addition, a 2012 barrier report from the Petawawa Accessibility Advisory Committee recommended installing automatic doors at the front and back entrances and retrofitting the existing main floor washrooms to accessible standards at an estimated cost of $45,000.
With the building no longer viable, council will subsequently budget funds to have it torn down. Councillor Frank Cirella voiced concern that the school may not have a back-up plan should the new building not be ready by January.
Mr. Young said they don’t have such arrangements for the school at the moment but they hope to have something in place once the extension is done.
Since 2010, the Petawawa Adult High School has registered 193 students, with 102 living in the town. During that time period, they had 185 clients participate in the adult literacy program with 148 residing in the municipality. They also had 850 students register for correspondence.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist