Could this be the end of WCI as we know it? Talk around town is that there are big plans for WCI. The future of our school is currently being discussed including a partnership between the Waterloo Region District School Board, Wilfrid Laurier University and The City of Waterloo.
Now, I am sure we can all agree that WCI has many flaws when it comes to appearance and how it operates. The lockers are unappealing and very frustrating to open, there is little to no air-conditioning and our school is not wheelchair accessible. On many other fronts, WCI is a great school but on a physical level? Not so much.
This City has come together and has been reviewing our run down school, realizing that they need to make renovations and they need to make them fast. Recently, Waterloo Region District School Board has been looking into a variety of scenarios including demolishing the school completely and rebuilding a new, beautiful, 4-story school in its place. With the new version of WCI up for discussion, they have also been talking about many luxurious upgrades to accommodate our “up and coming” city. These new developments could possibly involve a community and recreational space, a parking garage and maybe even a newer extravagant auditorium. Since our school is so old and needs a lot of retouching, Marilyn Marklevitz the board’s executive superintendent in charge of business and finance stated that, “Let’s say the cost to fix the building is $20 million, and we can build brand-new for $30 million.” To benefit the community we could spend 10 million dollars more to build a entire new school instead of keeping up with all the renovations.
Not only is WCI in need of more retouching than an airbrushed Abercrombie model, it is also not in an ideal or well located school anymore. In fact, university students live closer to WCI then our own student body does. Many students that attend WCI live outside of the neighborhood and require bussing or getting rides to school. Which due to WCI being stuck right in the middle of this pestering construction it has been extremely hard and irritating to even get to school.
Numerous factors contribute to WCI not being an “ideal” building. Chief among them is the lack of wheelchair accessibility:, we have no elevators or wheelchair ramps for our school which future remodeling or construction would include. As I interviewed Mr. Vander-Meulen he states that “WCI is a very complicated school because of the way it built and there is a law called ‘The accessibility act’ that is stating that all need to be fully accessible by 2025; meaning that anybody might be for example in a wheelchair will need to be able to get anywhere in the building”
Waterloo Collegiate Institute is a good school housed in mediocre facilities. Being in a building that is as old as ours, with barely any air-conditioning and no wheelchair accessibility we are in serious need of at least some upgrades. We all know how much we hate to stray from tradition, but a change is needed.