New Chatham school to be ready by May

New St. Angela Merici elementary school to be ready by May. Nov 1, 2019. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

The new elementary school in north Chatham is starting to take shape.

Officials toured the $14.3 million St. Angela Merici Catholic School across from St. Clair College on McNaughton Avenue on Friday morning and were told construction of the new school is on time and on budget.

The new school will house students of Our Lady of Fatima, St. Agnes, and St. Vincent once they close.

Education Director at the St. Clair Catholic District School Board, Deb Crawford, hopes to have the school ready by May of 2020 and doesn’t anticipate portable classrooms any time soon.

“We don’t see having portables in the future. We’re looking at our enrolment but we can’t predict if there’s a great amount of growth. Schools have to adapt to that but at this particular time we have no plans for a portable here,” Crawford said.

Soccer fields at new St. Angela Merici elementary school to be ready by May. Nov 1, 2019. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

Soccer fields at new St. Angela Merici elementary school to be ready by May. Nov 1, 2019. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

Crawford said coming in on budget was a big challenge because increased U.S. steel tariffs and extra stormwater management pushed up the price tag.

“The calibre of work that’s being done is exceptionally good. We’re really pleased that we have such good relationships with the different groups that we have been working with from the design process on. It really is a great product of collaboration,” Crawford added.

Tony Montanino, school board facility manager, said the school comes with standard security features to help keep students safe.

“The main floor around the perimeter will have fob access control to get into the facility and there will be two video intercom systems,” said Montanino.

The school sits on eight acres and should be fully enclosed by December to finish the inside. The school has soccer fields, a gym, high ceilings and low windows to let the younger students see outside. The St. Clair Catholic District School Board is also considering public paths to help keep the community fit. Crawford said there is no track right now but a track may be in the cards down the road if the school board can save some money or if a partnership comes along.