On November 4, the Ontario government announced their plan to invest $600 million into building new schools and child care spaces across the province. The government aims to create a total of 78 new facilities. Part of the Ontario government’s ten-year commitment is to improve education all around the province.
This project has been in the works for seven years and is set to open for the 2024-2025 school year.
The investment aims to improve education quality across the province by “putting the necessary infrastructure in place that will help the young, bright minds of our province grow, learn, and develop,” says Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure in Ontario.
The government has taken measures to ensure the health and safety of the students, with $65.8 million allocated to the Toronto District School Board for modern ventilation in schools across the city.
The Ontario government also put forth $44 million to build an elementary school in a Toronto condo, located in the Harbourfront neighbourhood, specifically Yonge and Harbor Street. The project plans to enroll 455 students.
Due to the rapid urbanization of the Downtown Toronto area, the population has quickly grown. This includes families with young children. However, there is a lack of accessible schools for families that live in this urban area. Many are forced to commute and deal with traffic to get to quality schools.
The Toronto School District Board announced that the school would be much like other schools, including a library, gym, and field. Their goal is to educate students within their communities while making them feel safe and welcome.
The Lower Yonge Precinct is quickly becoming a flourishing residential area and “is anticipated to be a high-density, sustainable neighborhood with an animated public realm, large central park, well-designed buildings, range of housing options and commensurate community services and facilities,” as mentioned in their City of Toronto’s report titled “City-Initiated Official Plan Amendment and Precinct Plan.”
Menkes Development Ltd is taking on the task of constructing this unconventional school. It will be part of the mixed-use Sugar Wharf Condominium project. This large-scale project will include five residential and one commercial tower.
Menkes Development will collaborate with the Government of Ontario to create the school on the third floor of the commercial building along with a childcare center directly below it. This upcoming project is a step in the right direction as the City of Toronto accommodates working, urban families. It was described as a “catalyst for family-friendly buildings in the downtown core,” by Jared Menkes, executive vice president of Menkes Development.
The convenience and central location of The Lower Yonge Precinct Elementary School will largely help urban working families in Toronto. This school is a creative solution to the lack of education services in the downtown area that hopes to help families living in high-density condos.
“With many families living in condos and high-density urban communities, we believe their children deserve access to modern and safe schools in the hearts of their communities,” said Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, in his address to the province.