Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker announced today, October 30th, that the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board will receive $19.7 million for an addition at St. Mary’s High School in Owen Sound.
“As part of its plan for a safe return to school, the Ontario government is supporting the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board with approval for the addition that will provide more than 700 new student spaces. For families in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, the investment is expected to mean an improved, quality learning environment,” said Walker.
The addition is part of the province’s 2020-2021 Capital Priorities Program to support students with better and more modern learning spaces. The Ontario government is investing $550 million in accelerated funding to build 20 new schools and make upgrades to eight existing facilities.
“These are not just investments in bricks and mortar, our government is investing in the future of our children by creating a better learning environment,” Walker added. “By building and upgrading these schools, we are providing students with access to modern classroom settings and the latest technology which will lead to new opportunities and lifelong success.”
“We have been over capacity at St. Mary’s in Owen Sound for many years and are thrilled with the news that we will be receiving 19.7 million in funding and can proceed with the much needed addition and renovations,” said Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board Chair Lori Di Castri. “During these months of uncertainty and change, we at Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board have remained focused on providing high quality faith based education to our communities. We are a people of hope and patience and today we are a people of joy and thanks. Our community will benefit greatly from the Ontario Government’s investment in our infrastructure, which in turn is an investment in our youth.”
Walker brought a message from the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, that the government firmly believes that children deserve to learn in state-of-the-art, modern, technologically connected and accessible schools. “We will continue to take action, like the St. Mary’s High School addition, to ensure students are safe today and well into the future by approving more new school buildings and permanent additions and increasing access to child care for working parents.”
He went on to say it is critical that Ontario continues to invest in safe and modern schools that meet the needs of students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ontario government is also generating nearly 900 new licensed child care spaces across the province with $1billion over five years to create 30,000 new child-care spaces in schools.
Alecia Lantz, Superintendent of Business, said that the school’s focus is on social justice and leading a peaceful life and the importance of collaboration and partnerships. “We are honoured and humbled by today’s announcement. It is just one more milestone in our journey,”
The Ontario Government announced in its Budget in 2019 that over the next ten years, Ontario is investing over $12 billion in capital grants, including allocating $550M in 2020-2021 for new schools, additions and major renovations. This massive investment will build new schools and help existing schools after a decade of closures and maintenance backlog.
In addition, Ontario is also providing school boards with an historic $1.4 billion in funding to renew and maintain existing schools that could be used to replace aging heating or air conditioning systems, repair roofs and windows, and install important accessibility features like elevators and ramps.
Director of Education, Gary O’Donnell, stressed that the needed-addition will provide stability in education in Owen Sound. “This will be very important for our families and students and the community.”