More Savings And Better Accessibility

SCCDSB Director of Education Dan Parr, November 24, 2015 (Photo by Jake Kislinsky)

New buildings will provide new opportunities for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

That’s according to the board’s Director of Education Dan Parr.

Six elementary schools in Chatham remain on the chopping block, after trustees approved a recommendation Tuesday night to close them in favour of building two new schools — one in the city’s north end and another in the city’s south end.

“We have seven elementary schools in Chatham. All but one of them, to varying degrees, are going to be experiencing — or are experiencing — some pretty severe enrollment challenges,” Parr says, “and most of them have pretty significant facilities challenges.”

Parr says it’s easier to achieve things like full accessibility and boosting the Wi-Fi signal in its schools through new construction, rather than undertaking renovations.

But, according to Parr, that’s not the only advantage to starting over again with new buildings. He says they can build some significant costs savings into the system with new facilities — savings he says the school board members “desperately want to direct to educational programs.”

The new schools will have the capacity to hold over 560 students each and could be open by September 2019. Final approval is now in the hands of the Education Ministry.

“We can only proceed with these plans if the Ministry of Education decides that our plan is solid enough,” Parr says, “and solid enough in comparison to all of the other plans being submitted by all of the other boards, to warrant funding.”

-With files from Matt Weverink.