Mix 106.5

Mix 106.5

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ideas For Keeping Rural Schools Alive

Chesley | by John Divinski  

Community groups gathered recently to find creative ways to use empty space.

The Bluewater District School Board is looking for ideas on how best to utilize empty spaces at some of its schools.

Ten groups were on hand at the board's annual Community Planning and Partnerships meeting in Chesley, June 13th, to offer some of those ideas.

One encouraging concept came from the interim Dean of Georgian College in Owen Sound, Dale Schenk, who says with the college pretty well at capacity, they need more space.

Schenk says "If we want to bring in new programs that we think are needed, we would need more classrooms and more labs to do that.  Partnering with school boards to use open spaces is a lot easier than bricks and mortar in today's economy."

He says over the years not enough has been done to "sell" Bluewater students on Georgian College and using excess space in some of the schools would help keep Georgian front and centre for future students.

Education Director Alana Murray says, "We see real opportunities to work directly with Georgian College in Owen Sound to address their challenge of finding more space and our challenge of having excess space."

Murray says now they need to see commitments from organizations such as Georgian College and the others who say they could use the space.

Other groups at the meeting had ideas on using space for daycare facilities, after school programs, and for training facilities emphasizing technology and trades.

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