New be­gin­ning for Mabou land­mark

Gaelic Col­lege for­mally takes pos­ses­sion of for­mer St. Joseph’s Re­newal Cen­tre

Cape Breton Post - - BUSINESS - BY CHRIS SHAN­NON CAPE BRE­TON POST MABOU chris.shan­[email protected]­post.com Twit­ter: @cb­post_chris

The Gaelic Col­lege is plan­ning ren­o­va­tions and ex­plor­ing op­tions with po­ten­tial fund­ing part­ners now that the St. Joseph Re­newal Cen­tre in Mabou is for­mally in its hands.

The sale of the prop­erty at 32 MacDon­ald

Rd. closed on Nov. 30, end­ing a land trans­fer process that has been in the works since April.

The re­newal cen­tre, which was owned by the Con­gre­ga­tion of

Notre Dame, ceased all op­er­a­tions on Oct. 31. It was an all-girls board­ing school and a con­vent from 1952 to 1978, and was later used solely as an ed­u­ca­tion, cul­tural and spiritual cen­tre. It ends 131 years of ser­vice by the sis­ters in the com­mu­nity.

The prop­erty, on five acres over­look­ing Mabou har­bour, was listed for $599,000 in Fe­bru­ary. The sale price has yet to be made pub­licly avail­able, how­ever Gaelic Col­lege CEO Rod­ney MacDon­ald said it was “within the range they were ask­ing” for.

The value of the three parcels of land pur­chased by the Gaelic Col­lege have been as­sessed at $539,700 for 2018.

The fu­ture use of the 40,000-square-foot build­ing will in­clude cul­tural pro­gram­ming and serve as ac­com­mo­da­tions for stu­dents, how­ever MacDon­ald would say lit­tle else at this point.

The Gaelic Col­lege, which is lo­cated in St. Anns, is work­ing to se­cure fund­ing for ren­o­va­tions to its new satel­lite cam­pus.

“We just took it over and now we’re in the plan­ning phase for po­ten­tial fu­ture ren­o­va­tions with the hope we can be­gin in early 2019,” he said.

“I don’t want to get ahead of our po­ten­tial fund­ing part­ners.”

Up­grades are re­quired specif­i­cally to meet­ing rooms, wash­rooms and class­rooms.

The Gaelic Col­lege was founded in 1938 and strives to foster Gaelic cul­ture and lan­guage through pro­grams, cul­tural work­shops and fes­ti­vals.

It is or­ga­nized as a non-profit and op­er­ated by a board of gover­nors. It raises money through the Gaelic Col­lege Foun­da­tion but also re­ceives do­na­tions from pri­vate cit­i­zens and gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Com­mu­nity and re­li­gious groups that used the St. Joseph Re­newal Cen­tre up to Oc­to­ber will be per­mit­ted to rent space in the build­ing again start­ing in late Jan­uary or early Fe­bru­ary, MacDon­ald said.

Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity and the Gaelic Col­lege cur­rently have a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing. Gaelic cour­ses of­fered at the sec­ond- and third-year lev­els at the Gaelic Col­lege are rec­og­nized by the univer­sity.

MacDon­ald said he would like to strengthen the cur­rent bond the col­lege has with CBU.

“We’re a strong be­liever in what Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity is do­ing.”

He said the “po­ten­tial is cer­tainly there” to of­fer CBU pro­gram­ming at the Mabou satel­lite cam­pus.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

A meet­ing room in the for­mer St. Joseph’s Re­newal Cen­tre in Mabou. The Gaelic Col­lege is plan­ning ren­o­va­tions and ex­plor­ing op­tions with po­ten­tial fund­ing part­ners now that the St. Joseph Re­newal Cen­tre in Mabou is for­mally in its hands.

MacDon­ald

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