CORNWALL, Ontario – The two English language co-terminus boards of Eastern Ontario signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday, March 29, 2018 to exchange school properties.
The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) will be acquiring the old General Vanier Secondary School building from the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) which will be buying Immaculate Conception Catholic School from the CDSBEO.
The two school boards did not disclose how much General Vanier or Immaculate Conception were being sold for, only stating that it was for “fair market value.”
“The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario and the Upper Canada District School Board have successfully completed a memorandum of understanding which will be signed today,” said CDSBEO Chairman Todd Lalonde. “It is a testament to our commitment to the betterment of our students and parents.”
General Vanier, which is currently the primary site for the UCDSB’s TR Leger program, will be used by the CDSBEO to house the JK to Grade 6 students from Sacred Heart and St. Columban’s Schools, which they are closing. The new amalgamated schools will also house the Grade 7 and 8 students from St. Anne’s and Bishop MacDonell Catholic schools as well as the 7-8 students at St. Joes.
The CDSBEO received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education to acquire General Vanier. The school will be receiving a $2.2 million make over, also funded by the Ministry.
The money will be used to add, among other things, four new kindergarten classrooms, new bathrooms and a new bus loop. The renovations are schedule to start in May.
The students who are currently at St. Columban’s and Sacred Heart will be moved into the old General Vanier site in Sept. 2018, when the memorandum comes into effect.
The elementary school side of the site will be renamed to Sacred Heart Catholic School.
Immaculate Conception will be the new home of the TR Leger program. Director Stephen Sliwa said that he expected minimal disruption to the program.
General Vanier Secondary School is attached to the CDSBEO’s main high school in Cornwall, St. Joes, and that connection symbolizes a partnership that goes back decades.
“There are many times that I would remind the Ministry of the long partnership we’ve had,” said UCDSB Chair Jeff McMillan. “Especially at this school. We’ve been partners for more than 30 years.”
McMillan went on to state that this partnership will continue as both boards work to meet their community’s needs.
“We are here to serve our community and we are here to serve our young people,” McMillan said. “Let’s set the example of how two school boards can work together for the betterment of their community.”