CORNWALL, Ontario – A report received by the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) on Tuesday, Oct. 4 recommends that three elementary schools be consolidated and that St. Joes be torn down and rebuilt.
The plan called the Pupil Accommodation Review was a mandatory processed introduced by the Ministry of Education in 2015 to compel school boards to review and manage underutilized school space.
The review conducted by the CDSBEO found that there are 481 vacant spots in the Cornwall area right now and that number is expected to rise to 751 by 2030.
To combat declining enrollment, the CDSBEO’s Pupil Accommodation Review puts forth two options.
The first option would see Immaculate Conception, St. Columban’s and Sacred Heart consolidated (closed) into other schools in the area.
Enrollment at Immaculate Conception would be redirected to Bishop Macdonell and St. Peter, while students will be sent from St. Columban’s and Sacred Heart to a new JK to Grade 6 facility or an unnamed nearby alternative.
All Grade 7 to 8 students from St. Columban’s, Sacred Heart, St. Anne’s and Bishop MacDonell would be sent to St. Joe’s.
If Option 1 is successful, St. Joe’s would have to be closed under this plan and a new school would be built either at the current site or a new site.
The second option is the same as the first except the current St. Joe’s site would remain and the building would be converted to a Grade 7 to 12 facility.
According the the review the second option would cost the school board almost $8 million more than tearing down St. Joe’s and building a new facility.
The CDSBEO is expected to form an Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) and the first public consultation is scheduled on Nov. 30 with the location yet to be determined.
The CDSBEO’s announcement comes one week after the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) made its own Pupil Accommodation Review announcement.
The UCDSB proposed to close 12 schools by July 2017 to cope with 10, 000 open spaces across it’s board.