The old Pinewood School in Dryden is going to be put to good use again soon.
The former school will be host to single mothers and their children as community partners provide support for the family, as well as help the parent further their education and find employment. Pinewood will be developed into a 15-unit multi-residential home, child care centre and resource centre.
Henry Wall, Chief Administrative Officer for the Kenora District Services Board, offered an update on the project.
“It’s very exciting. The plan is for the doors to open in time for the start of the new school year in September. Once the snow starts to melt, we’re going to start the construction and renovation of the school. The plan is that come September in 2018, it will be done, including the child-care centre. This demonstrates what happens when we put our mandates to the side and we focus on what families in our communities need. It’s quite amazing how quickly and how efficiently these partnerships can come together,” he said.
The support services include child care, housing, social assistance and any other necessary supports, including education. Wall adds the property is in ideal location in the community - situated near downtown.
The program was developed with various community partners and the Dryden Native Friendship Centre. It’s also funded provincially, and is a four year initiative for families.
The planning for the project has been underway for more than five years. Dryden Council approved the re-zoning of the school in October 2017. The KDSB purchased the property in partnership with Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services and the Dryden Native Friendship Centre in April 2017.