Architectural rendering of Chatham-Kent Secondary School front facade by Architecttura Inc. (Photo courtesy of the Lambton-Kent District School Board)

Major renovations proposed for CKSS

Within a few short years, Chatham-Kent Secondary School could have a whole new look.

Lambton-Kent District School Board (LKDSB) trustees got a snapshot of some multi-million dollar plans for the building Tuesday night, which include work both inside and outside of the school building.

LKDSB Superintendent of Business Brian McKay said it’s part of a re-envisioning process.

“CKSS was built in the 1960s and has been serving us well, but we feel we need to make some upgrades to the building — kind of look at the future need for our staff and students,” said McKay. “We don’t have funding to build new, so we have to be creative and innovative on the spaces we have at our disposal.”

No specific changes have been confirmed yet, but the school board has released a concept design of what the new front entrance could look like once the work is done.

That same release from the school board estimates the total cost of the proposed projects at around $18-million. Construction could start as early as the spring of 2019 and is expected to take place in at least five different phases, one each year.

“It’s a long process because we do the majority of the work during the summer when the students and staff aren’t in the school, so that adds to the complexity and lengthens the project,” said McKay. “Right now, we’re looking at designing the different phases.”

No decisions have been made yet on which order the projects will take place in, but officials do have a good idea of the work that will be done.

McKay said the construction on the outside of the building includes redesigning the way traffic flow is handled on the property and the addition of a bus drop-off area.

Inside the school, the proposed work includes opening up the front portion of the building, putting in a new larger open-concept cafeteria, creating a larger library-learning commons area, and the addition of a new centralized area for the arts programs in the middle of the school with a new theatre and a new music room. The proposals also include an outdoor courtyard for special needs students as well as renovated classrooms and staff areas.

McKay said the concepts for the plans are still in the early stages and will still involve a lot of consultations with the school community before work begins.

The work will be paid for with money from the LKDSB’s Capital Improvement Funding, which it receives from the provincial government.