Drivers motoring along Route 202 through apple country this fall no doubt did a doubletake while slowing down to pass Franklin Elementary School. The school has received a facelift, care of the New Frontiers School Board which invested over $2.6 million during several phases of renovations over the past five years.
Between the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 school years the building underwent interior renovations, including the replacement of windows and asbestos removal. The exterior siding on the building was replaced last year, and one side of the roof was replaced at a cost of $944,000.
The roof over the gymnasium was replaced over the summer, and the paving of the gravel parking area will soon be completed. NFSB director general Michael Helm confirms the school board is currently working with Transport Quebec to resolve some drainage issues with the parking area project, and the work is expected to be done soon. The paving work and the new roof over the gymnasium cost approximately $460,000 and included some landscaping work as well.
Funding for building improvements is allocated based on the Système Informatique de Maintien des Actifs des Commissions Scolaires (SIMACS) classification system, which rates the condition of school buildings. The NFSB submits projects to improve its various buildings for approval, based on these ratings, on an annual basis. “The goal is to bring all buildings up to a certain standard,” says Helm.
At Franklin Elementary, the NFSB’s material resources team and the architects worked closely with then-principal Eveline Taylor, who in turn kept the school’s governing board informed of the various renovation phases. Helm says the NFSB takes the input of its principals and governing boards very seriously, noting that the final colour scheme for the Franklin renovations was settled upon after the initial designs were soundly rejected.
“Franklin is a special school, and an important part of our fabric,” says Helm. “We hope the community sees our investments as not only for the school, but for the community at large.”