October 19, 2012
Site Chosen for New Virginia Park Elementary School
The Provincial Government has accepted an external consultant’s recommendation that the existing Virginia Park Elementary School site in St. John’s is the best location for a new school to serve the school community.
“The site selection process has been a complicated one, and I am pleased that we have reached this milestone in the planning process,” said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Education. “We have never wavered from our commitment to provide the students of Virginia Park with an enhanced learning environment, and we will now work to move this project forward as quickly as possible.”
The Provincial Government announced in 2009 that it would construct a new school to replace Virginia Park Elementary. The subsequent discovery of a former dumpsite on the property ultimately led to a search for an alternate site. During that search, the former Janeway Hospital location in Pleasantville became available. However, extensive investigation led to the conclusion that, due to the presence of asbestos in the soil, the site would be very complicated and expensive to develop for the purposes of an elementary school. The Virginia Park site will now be completely remediated before construction begins.
Minister Jackman noted the Provincial Government wants to ensure the students of Virginia Park Elementary have a safe, modern learning environment and that there is public confidence in the selected site.
“I can appreciate that this has been a frustrating process for the Virginia Park school community, and I thank them for their patience,” said Minister Jackman. “From the information available at the time, the former Janeway site appeared to be a good alternative for the location of a new school. But when new information arises, you have to be willing to change plans, and we have now determined that with appropriate remediation, the existing site will be more suitable for the new facility. I expect this will be good news for the school community, as it had originally advocated for the new school to be constructed on the present site.”
The new school is expected to be completed by fall 2016.
“Virginia Park has a strong school community and we are pleased that a new school will be constructed adjacent to the current location of Virginia Park Elementary,” said Milton Peach, Chair of the Eastern School Board. “Our board looks forward to this project commencing and the opening of the new school for students zoned for Virginia Park Elementary.”
Budget 2012 includes $115 million for new and ongoing K-12 infrastructure, including $29 million for priority repairs and maintenance. Since 2004, about $567 million has been allocated for school infrastructure throughout the province. Nine new schools have opened; 10 more are in various stages of planning or construction; 12 major extension and renovation projects have been completed, and seven more are underway or in the planning stages.
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Director of Communications
Department of Education
Director of Communications
Eastern School District
2012 10 19 2:15 p.m.