As school began on 5 September 2017, students of Marc Garneau C.I. were welcomed with a newly renovated building. However, the changes aren’t finished. Before the end of the year, Garneau’s roof is to be covered with solar panels.
Starting in April 2017, MGCI began its long-awaited renovation project, as workers began repairing its forty-five-year-old roof. During the summer, Garneau also overhauled numerous sections of the school. The following changes occurred:
- The roof repair has been finished.
- The sinkhole in the backfield has been filled.
- The fencing around the track has been removed.
- Bleachers have been assembled in the backfield.
- The library and drama rooms have had their carpets changed to carpet tiles.
- Teacher offices and a dozen classrooms have had their floors changed to ceramic tiles.
- All outside and many inside doors to the school have been repainted.
Many parts of the school that were renovated were several decades old. Notably, the carpets were twenty to forty years old and had become heavily stained. The change to tile was to reduce allergies and allow for easier maintenance. If somebody were to spill something on the library tiled floor, the affected tiles could simply be pulled out and replaced. Not all rooms have had their carpets changed to tiles yet; the entire process may take several years.
Near the start of October this year, installation of solar panels on MGCI’s roof will commence. The process will take eight to ten weeks to complete depending on the weather. Although already a Platinum Eco-School, the use of solar panels instead of traditional electricity will make Garneau even greener.
The installation of these solar panels is part of the TDSB’s Solar Schools Project, which began in the spring of 2014. Eventually, the TDSB hopes that solar panels will power all three hundred and eleven TDSB schools. MGCI Principal Ms. Goldenberg explained, “[This year] the board chose Garneau, and usually if they chose to repair the roof, they wouldn’t install the solar panels in the same year, so we lucked out.”
The money for the repairs came from both the TDSB and MGCI’s own budget. The TDSB has been paying to repair the roofs of numerous schools but some of the other renovations were funded by money MGCI has collected over the years. The money was used this year to pay for renovations and purchase weight room equipment in mass quantities, as buying in bulk allows for better prices.
Other than the solar panels, most major renovations have been completed. As with every year, small repairs may still go on during the school year. Unlike the roofing project, the installation of the solar panels are not expected to produce any sort of odor, and should not affect the functioning of the school in any way. Purab Patel, a Grade 11 student commented, “Since there were multiple water leakages from the roof and the weight room tiles were falling off, the renovations were highly vital. The many recent renovations contribute to making MGCI a better and more modern, clean learning environment.”