The roof, crumbling walls and poor heating system, which can often be found in Ontario schools, not just harmful to students and teachers, they also destroy the local historical heritage, experts warn in the field of architectural construction.
That was the message at a Symposium on Saturday, which was attended by representatives of the education system and defenders of the historic structures. Representatives of both parties have common goals when it comes to the care of the school buildings in the province. Speakers accused the province’s inadequate funding, which led to the obsolescence of the Fund, and now its restoration requires at least $16 billion.
“If funding is insufficient, the government will have to provide new schools,” says Katherine Nesmith, President of the Committee of Architectural Conservation, Toronto. The human rights group wants to pay more attention to the historical and architectural value of the schools that are in poor condition, and the fact that the owners of historic buildings often experience financial pressure from the province, forcing to put property up for sale.
Speakers also warned that construction of buildings is unlikely to be qualitative, taking into account the current mode of funding. According to experts, even a complete sale of old asset in its current state will not cover the costs of construction of new school buildings.
In 2016, the Ministry of education announced additional funding of $1.1 billion over two years to repair schools, bringing the total amount of repairs was $2.7 billion.
But the speakers at the Symposium noted that this amount will cover only the running costs of the Fund and is insufficient to catch up with the backlog and to carry out a full repair.
Years system to insufficient funding, left a Fund of a school property at a disadvantage when the budget was spent only on the most necessary and urgent needs, said Krista Wylie, co-founder of the organization, Fix Our Schools.
Fix Our Schools is among many groups, including the Association of school and colleges Ontario, who argue that the 20-year-old funding formula of education of the province lies at the root of all problems in the industry: inadequate infrastructure before the crisis, the support of special education.
All encountered community want to protect the unique architecture of these schools, Kent Public School Dufferin, which is now closed, and the school Davisville Public School, which is also experiencing great difficulties.
Steve Shaw, Executive Director of construction and planning, drew attention to the following facts: the average age of 547 school buildings is 62 years (almost twice the average level in the provinces); urgent repair of roofs will require at least $80 million; a quarter of schools in the TDSB have the old system of steam boilers, most of which exceeded the recommended life cycle of 25 years. At the current rate of investment in their replacement will take another 35 years.