After 2 years of renovations (and $8 million over budget), Nelson Mandela Park Public School finally reopened March 19, 2013. The school’s official opening was June 10, 2013; no one from the community was invited (although we endured 2 years of construction noise).
This building has a lot of history, so we’re grateful that it was preserved. To learn more about the history of the school, built in 1915, see pages 8-24 of the heritage application.
It wasn’t a surprise to us that the school wasn’t ready for the original planned opening in Sept 2012. At a June 2012 meeting with the school trustee’s assistant Beth Butcher and the school project manager Hasan Mohammed, the neighbourhood was assured the school renovation was on schedule for opening in only 3 months. New windows had been installed on the 2nd and 3rd floor, but the old windows still remained on the 1st floor. We emailed the school principal and the trustee on June 28 and asked “why the windows and window ledges on 1st floor will not be replaced?” – no reply.
One of the last activities – landscaping and sodding the front yard of the school -happened on Aug 16-20. At yet 2 days later, there was a sudden decision to delay re-opening the school; “soil contamination” seems to be an excuse made up at the last minute.
The trustee (and her staff) should assume some responsibility for this – how many other
$20mm $30 million TDSB projects were underway in her ward? Sounds like Sheila Ward is passing the buck: “We need to ask whose responsibility it was to blow the whistle.”