DSBN on the Grow Again

Students in St. Catharines will soon benefit from both new and improved facilities. On May 1, St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley announced, on behalf of Education Minister Liz Sandals, that the Ontario government, at the request of the District School Board of Niagara, would provide funding to support the construction of a new school in downtown St. Catharines and the expansion of another school in the Garden City’s north end.

“We are very pleased to move forward with these important projects,” said Kevin Maves, Chair of the DSBN Board of Trustees. “Schools are important community hubs, and in this time of declining enrolment it is especially gratifying to be able to revitalize the delivery of education through the construction and expansion of schools.”

“The Province was pleased to respond to the District School Board of Niagara’s request for funds to build the new downtown school,” Mr. Bradley said.

With this funding announcement, students living in central St. Catharines will have a brand new school to call their own by September, 2015. The project is expected to go to tender in the spring, with an official groundbreaking ceremony to follow in June.

The two-storey school will be built on the existing Alexandra Public School property at 84 Henry St. Once completed, the state-of-the-art building will offer students modern educational amenities such as spacious classrooms flooded with natural light and a learning commons where students can access resources using a variety of technologies. For students enrolled in full-day Kindergarten program, there will be a separate gated play area and program entrance. 

The yet-to-be-named school will bring together the populations of three schools: Alexandra, Maywood and Memorial. Trustees voted to consolidate the three schools into a new build as a result of the 2013 accommodation review of schools in central St. Catharines. Bringing three school communities together under one roof will help to offset the impacts of declining enrolment and give students enhanced learning opportunities.

“We are especially pleased to have been able to work with the community, city council and our partners in the provincial government to make this project a reality. This school is the result of all parties working together to ensure a positive outcome for students,” said Warren Hoshizaki, DSBN Director of Education.

Today’s announcement will also allow the DSBN to proceed with the expansion of Pine Grove Public School on Lake Street. The building currently houses two elementary schools, Pine Grove, belonging to the DSBN, and Michael J. Brennan, which is operated by the DSBN’s coterminous board. With the closure of Michael J. Brennan, the DSBN will purchase the remainder of the property to expand Pine Grove, which will use the additional space to offer a full K-8 program, and full-day Early Learning Program beginning in September.

“This is wonderful news for the Pine Grove community,” said Marian Reimer-Friesen, Superintendent of Schools. “Being able to eliminate a transition by giving students the ability to complete their elementary education under one roof is very positive.”