May 20, 2022
TORONTO — With the school year nearly ended, Toronto school officials are moving forward with a number of summer projects involving buildings and grounds.
Superintendent Maureen Taggart said the Toronto school board has agreed to advertise for a contractor for an outdoor classroom to occupy a courtyard within the junior-senior high school.
Designs by Lesko Architecture of Cleveland call for the area to include a sunken seating area, with stone seats for 30 to 40 students and covered by a canopy, as well as picnic tables, benches, lighting and landscaping.
Taggart noted the outdoor instructional area was included in original plans for the junior-senior high school but cut because of lack of funding.
She noted a smaller instructional area in a courtyard of the newer elementary school has proven popular with students and teachers.
A June 1 pre-bid meeting has been set for interested contractors, with bids for the project due by June 9 so the board may consider them at its June 16 regular meeting.
Taggart noted a contractor also is being sought for the creation of a new sidewalk along North River Avenue from the high school’s Red Knights Stadium to the adjacent baseball field, with bids also due on June 9.
She said plans to add new bleachers to the junior-senior high school gym have been delayed by supply issues.
“They just can’t get the raw materials to make the bleachers,” said Taggart.
She said because a summer basketball league uses the gym and the high school’s volleyball team begins practice there in late July, it was decided to postpone the project until 2023.
Taggart noted the contractor, the H21 Group, has agreed to honor its bid of $115,617 when the work begins.
The higher set of bleachers will increase the gym’s seating capacity from 560 to 769, allowing the entire student body to be seated together and reduce the need to limit attendance for the school’s commencement program and other events.
On Thursday, the board filled a number of teaching, service and extracurricular positions for the upcoming school year.
Taggart said she’s pleased to have filled nearly all classroom positions though she is seeking teachers to serve as intervention specialists.
She said the three may work in various capacities, including one to one as tutors to students struggling with certain skills or as a co-teacher to regular classroom instructors.
Taggart said they will be funded through a two-year state grant provided through federal pandemic relief funds in response to concerns that some students suffered from the lack of individual attention when schools turned to virtual instruction.
Taggart also noted the school district has lost four experienced educators with the recent retirements of Bill Stone, a social studies teacher at the high school; three elementary teachers: Karen Bigler, Lois Popejoy and Mary Jo Andrews.
She and board members have expressed thanks to the four for their years of service.