Municipality buys and sells St. Joseph for housing

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SCC: St. Angela Merici near completion, revised academic calendar

By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative

The St. Clair Catholic School board (SCCSB) has sold St. Joseph Catholic School to the municipality of Chatham-Kent.

Both parties approved an Agreement of Purchase and Sale at their respective Monday night meetings.

In 2017, SCC approved the consolidation of St. Joseph, St. Ursula and Georges P. Vanier Catholic schools in a new state-of-the-art school building to be located in south Chatham. In 2019, the century-old St Joseph officially closed its doors.

Apollo Property Management (1815513 Ontario Inc.), a Chatham-Kent business, purchased the school from the municipality for $400,000.  

Legally the process for the sale of surplus school properties requires the board to sell the school to a public agency. The sale process also allows for municipalities to have some say in the future use of the public buildings.

A report to council states that the building will likely be used for housing purposes.

“Administration believes that this potential housing use would be a positive re-use of this property and is consistent with the neighborhood,” it reads.

Originally, the municipality was considering leasing the building to run it as the new long-term temporary (18-24 months) homeless shelter, according to nearby businesses. However, the report states that it “has been determined that use of St. Joseph’s School for any municipal purpose is no longer needed.”

READ MORE: SCHOOLS TO MERGE IN SOUTH CHATHAM

St. Angela Merici Catholic School is almost picture perfect as it nears completion. (Jenna Cocullo/Chatham Voice)

New elementary Catholic school almost ready

SCC’s new school for north Chatham is on track to have its grand opening in September.

At Monday night’s school board meeting, superintendent of education Laura Callaghan gave an update on the progress of St. Angela Merici school, located on McNaughton Avenue.

The school’s name now sits on the front of the building which is surrounded by a completed landscape and paved surfaces.

Three large kites and a mural will be installed at the front entrance to honour all three schools coming together. An old statue of St. Angela Merici, donated by the Ursuline Sisters Convent,  will also be displayed in the building.

An outdoor learning classroom, equipped with shade sails, will also be installed in an effort to integrate nature into academics. 

Three “thinking labs” will be a feature of the school, one of which is equipped with a green screen for student productions.

The school board will announce a date where parents can preview the school, while following the appropriate COVID-19 protocols, before the official Sept. 10 opening. 

Everything required for occupancy will be completed by the end of July. Staff is expected to occupy the day-care centre by the second week of August.

Last month the school board announced Ridge K.I.D.S. Daycare will be the child-care provider at the new St. Angela Merici Catholic School. Ridge K.I.D.S. will operate a fully licensed child-care program for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, along with an extended day program for Kindergarten children and a Before and After program for students in Grade 1 and higher.

To register, parents/guardians can visit Chatham-Kent’s child care registry at www.chatham-kentchildcare.ca.  

READ MORE: PROVINCE PONIES UP FOR TWO NEW SCHOOLS IN CHATHAM

Academic calendar

At the meeting, SCC slightly revised their academic calendar.

As the province prepares to reopen schools, boards are encouraged to start the school year by Sept. 1 and to schedule three PA days prior to the start of student instruction. 

Students will begin classes on Sept. 8 and end June 28.

St. Clair teaching staff will have three PA days from Sept 1-3. 

Nov. 20, Feb. 2, June 4 and June 29 will be additional PA days.

The Ministry of Education will be providing school board staff and teachers with additional training on health and safety as students return to school during the pandemic. 

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