TORONTO — The new outdoor classroom at Toronto Junior-Senior High School will include an element familiar to those who attended the former high school, school officials said, who also direct their attention to an area of the new elementary school’s gymnasium.
Toronto City Schools Superintendent Maureen Taggart said JoLynn Fisher and Todd Firm, members of the high school class of 1968, suggested using the stone sign over the front entrance of the former high school, which served students at the corner of Myers Street and Third Street from 1926 to 2013.
Taggart said the sign was removed before the building was leveled.
“We saved it because we thought we might build it into something at some point.” She said.
Taggart added that members of the Class of 1968 also donated money to have the stone moved, washed, and installed in the outdoor classroom, located between the junior-senior high school’s instructional and athletic wings.
She said, “As a graduate (of the school at Third and Myers) I am pleased that we can preserve some of the history of the old school.”
Taggart told the school board Thursday that crews are installing lighting for the outdoor classroom, which includes several circular tables and benches and a sunken seating area with a total capacity of 80 seats.
She said crews would still have to build a shelter over the latter area, install fences and pour more concrete for the area, which is slightly larger than a normal classroom.
Taggart said its primary purpose will be for outdoor classes, but it could also be used during lunch breaks and for special school events.
She noted that there had been plans for this when the high school was designed a few years ago, but she was cut from the project to save on costs.
The outdoor classroom was designed by Moh Ayt of Cleveland-based Lesko Architecture. Border Patrol of Hopedale is the general contractor for the $450,336 project, which is receiving federal funding for pandemic relief because it allows students to meet outdoors.
On other matters, board member Jay Foster, who represents it on the joint school district-city recreation committee, said the board is reviewing junior high school winter sports schedules so they can use the Karaffa Recreation Center gym.
The center is the former Karaffa school, which was transferred to the city for one dollar when the new elementary school was built in 2020.
The new school’s gymnasium is used by the junior high school boys’ and girls’ basketball teams.
Taggart said staff noticed that two areas in the floor near the gym entrance appear to be bowing and are preparing to use the high school recreation center and gym, if available, for junior high- to use teams.
She said the contractor who installed the floor believes the warping was caused by moisture underneath and others were called in to investigate. She said there are plans to run cameras through plumbing and stormwater sewer lines near the building and into stacks on the roof, which divert rain off the roof.
The board also heard from Michael Paris of Coral Reef Partners of Jonestown, Pa., who suggested the company install solar panels on the school’s campus.
He said the panels could be placed on the junior-senior high school’s roof to reduce the district’s energy bills and on carports built in its parking lot to eliminate the need for bus drivers and others to clear snow remove their vehicles.
Board members did not oppose the proposal, but questioned whether the panels would pose complications when it came time to replace the building’s roof, noting that carports throughout the parking lot impede use for special events would.
The board authorized the company to gather information about its current energy costs so it could determine savings from the panels and a utility rate it would charge the district.
Taggart announced that another solar energy provider has expressed an interest in addressing the board at its next meeting.
After Thursday’s meeting, Taggart said of the proposals: “We are currently examining our options. It (solar energy) has its finger on the pulse for our area, which is why we want to make the right decision for our district.”
The Board of Directors will meet on November 17 at 5:00 p.m. in the Toronto Junior-Senior High School Library.
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