The Ontario Ministry of Education has approved St. Clair Catholic District School Board’s funding request for $26.7 million to build two new Catholic elementary schools in Chatham.
The funding includes child-care facilities at both locations.
“This is a very exciting and momentous time in the history of Catholic education in Chatham, as we embark on a planning process, which will ultimately lead to
state-of-the-art facilities for our Chatham elementary students,” said Dan Parr, Director of Education, in a media release.
“We know that these new facilities will provide improved educational opportunities for our Catholic families in Chatham for many generations to come,” said John Van Heck, chair of the board, in a release.
The funding announcement means that two new Catholic schools will be built in Chatham – one on the north side to replace St. Vincent, St. Agnes and Our Lady of Fatima; and one on the south side, to replace St. Joseph, St. Ursula and Georges P. Vanier. The exact location of the new schools is still being finalized and will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition, the board will move forward with plans to renovate and refurbish the Our Lady of Fatima site, which will be the new home of the Chatham French Immersion program, replacing Monsignor Uyen.
The board hopes all of this can be accomplished in time for the start of school in September 2019.
Parr has also announced the appointment of Superintendent of Education Deb Crawford, who led the public accommodation review, to lead a team of parents and school staff that will transition students from six schools to two; and the Board’s French Immersion students from the Monsignor Uyen site to their new home at the Our Lady of Fatima site. The board will also work to transition staff, according to the terms of the various collective agreements.
More details about both transition plans will be announced in the coming weeks and months, according to board officials.
“I want to acknowledge again the members of the Pupil Accommodation Review Committee, both from the school communities and the parishes, who helped to shape this vision for the future,” Parr said. “And I especially want to thank the staff of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, with whom we have an excellent and co-operative relationship. Their assistance to us in this project has been extremely valuable.”