Boards to share $24M school
Construction of a new school in Espanola shared by two school boards will take about two years to build and cost nearly $24 million.
Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board and Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel- Ontario are teaming up to build the two-storey, 79,800-square-foot building on seven acres of land on Mead Boulevard. The site includes day care spaces for 120 youngsters.
The former Sacred Heart elementary school, located on that property, was demolished in 2016 because it was “too prohibitive to repair,” EPOH architect Franco Pastore told HSCDSB trustees during a meeting this week. The building was constructed in 1919. Students are now attending classes at the former A.B. Ellis school on Park Street. Students from A.B. Ellis relocated to Espanola High School, operated by Rainbow District School Board.
A request for proposal for tenders to build the school went out Sept. 7. Construction will start, at the latest, in the spring of 2018 and take 20 to 24 months to complete, said Pastore. Project budget is $23.8 million, with HSCDSB paying $10.5 million of that amount, said superintendent of business Chris Spina in an email.
“It is one school, but it also functions as two schools with shared spaces,” Pastore told trustees. “The objective with the design was to create as much parity as possible so that one board didn’t have more than another.”
The student is expected to house 271 HSCDSB students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8, and 363 CSCNO students from JK to Grade 12. Espanola is home to Ecole Saint-Joseph and Ecole secondaire catholique Franco- Ouest.
General offices will be on the main floor, as will classrooms and a discovery room for each school and three elementary-sized gyms. Two of those gyms can be combined to make one secondary-sized gymnasium. The shared spaces are “strategically placed” in the middle of the building, said Pastore.
An art room and more classrooms are on the second floor. High school classes will also be upstairs, so there’s “separation” between the younger and older students, said Pastore.
Playgrounds will be split into zones for primary, junior and intermediate students attending the two elementary schools. A Best Start Hub will be on the north side of the property. Daycare facilities will also be in each school.
The site of the former St. Louis de France Catholic church will be turned into a parking lot. Fencing around the perimeter of the property will help “protect the children,” said Pastore. Kindergarten students from the two schools can directly access secure playgrounds.
The English Catholic board has planned to replace Sacred Heart school since at least 2007.
HSCDSB and CSCNO share sites in several other Algoma District communities, including Wawa and Elliot Lake.