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Meaford's new JK to Grade 12 school, to be located adjacent to the current St. Vincent Euphrasia elementary school, is one step closer after council unanimously granted conditional site plan approval for the project at their July 22 meeting.

The proposed 9,993 square metre two-storey school is to be constructed on the property that currently houses the existing St. Vincent Euphrasia School, as well as lands that were acquired to the south of the existing school site. The intent is to construct the new school to the south-east of the existing school building and then to demolish the existing building once the new construction is complete,” Meaford CAO and Director of Development Services Rob Armstrong told council in his report.

Armstrong told council that the proposed entrance to the new school will be through a shared entrance with Knox Presbyterian Church, and the exit will be in generally the same location as the south entrance to the existing school on Grey Road 7. The south entrance is located on land owned by the school board with the church having legal access over the lands.

In addition to the school, the Board proposes a multi-use sports field surrounded by a four lane track. It appears that they have included provisions on the drawings that may facilitate expansion of the track to six lanes,” Armstrong noted in his report.

Armstrong told council that one issue still to be finalized is parking.

Staff have undertaken a review of the proposed school with regard to zoning compliance and are satisfied that it meets the requirements of the by-law with regard to setbacks, height, parking, and other site performance standards. With regard to parking however, we note that our Zoning By-law does not currently have a standard for a combined elementary and secondary school,” Armstrong told council. “Planning staff’s concern is that although it can be argued that the parking to be provided meets the Zoning By-law, it will result in less parking than currently exists to service the two existing schools (approximately 170 spaces). Given the nature of Grey Road 7, on-street parking is not generally safely available in the vicinity of the school and staff were concerned that overflow parking – for example for special school events – may result in on-street parking should sufficient parking not be available on-site. The County of Grey Transportation Department echoed this concern.”

After discussions with the school board, they have “offered to retain the northernmost parking lot which services the existing school, to provide additional parking. This will result in the overall proposed parking on-site to be more in line with the existing supply servicing the two existing schools.”

Council was pleased that the new school project was moving closer to the construction phase, and they voted 7-0 in favour of granting the conditional site plan approval.