Millions of Reasons to Smile in Fort Erie
On Wednesday, September 3, St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley delivered the news that the Fort Erie community had been eagerly anticipating since the conclusion of the accommodation review in 2013. On behalf of Education Minister Liz Sandals, Mr. Bradley told a crowd of students, staff and Trustees that the government will fund the construction of a new high school for students in the town.
“Our government’s investments are supporting safe, modern facilities that meet the needs of students and school staff in Niagara. When we help our local school boards improve and expand their infrastructure, we’re helping teachers and support staff focus on what matters most — student growth and success,” said Bradley.
“This is certainly welcome news,” said Kevin Maves, Chair of the DSBN Board of Trustees. “With this commitment from the Ministry, the DSBN can move forward with the process of building this new school. There are many exciting milestones to come, including site selection, designing the building and putting shovels in the ground to the grand opening welcoming students.”
The soon-to-be-built school will combine the populations of Fort Erie Secondary and Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School into one site and will have capacity for 750 students. The location of the new school has not been determined, but Chair Maves said the Board will work quickly to identify an appropriate central location for the school.
Dave Schaubel, Trustee for Fort Erie/Port Colborne, said he is looking forward to seeing the community develop around the new school. “This will be a showcase facility the entire community can be proud of,” said Schaubel. “I know students will be very excited to begin the process of defining their shared identity and developing their school character.”
DSBN Director of Education Warren Hoshizaki commended staff on putting forth a strong business case for building the new school to the Ministry of Education. “We are very pleased that the Ministry agreed that bringing two schools under one roof represented solid, long term planning in the best educational interests of the students we serve,” said Hoshizaki.
Trustees voted to consolidate Fort Erie Secondary and Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School following the accommodation review process which took place in the 2012/13 school year. The decision aligns with the recommendation which came from the Accommodation Review Committee. Trustees endorsed this strategy to counteract the impact of declining enrolment in Niagara. Housing students under one roof will allow the Board to offer high school students in Fort Erie a greater variety of programs, athletics and extra-curricular opportunities.
The yet-to-be-named school will be the first DSBN high school built in Niagara in 40 years.