June 19, 2017
As you may be aware, the Ontario Ministry of Education announced earlier today that it has approved the Board’s funding request for $26.7 million to build two new Catholic elementary schools in Chatham. The funding also includes child care facilities at both locations. This is tremendous news and we are very pleased that we are now able to begin moving forward with the recommendations of the Chatham Elementary Schools Pupil Accommodation Review Committee, which were approved by the Board of Trustees on March 28, 2017.
The funding announcement means that two new Catholic schools will be built in Chatham – one on the north side to replace St. Vincent, St. Agnes and Our Lady of Fatima; and one on the south side, to replace St. Joseph, St. Ursula and Georges P. Vanier. The exact location of the new schools is still being finalized and will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition, the Board will move forward with plans to renovate and refurbish the Our Lady of Fatima site, which will be the new home of the Chatham French Immersion program, replacing Monsignor Uyen. We remain hopeful that all of this can be accomplished in time for the start of school in September 2019.
Of course, there is much work to do, as we move towards the September 2019 opening. I am announcing today that I have appointed Superintendent of Education Deb Crawford, who led the public accommodation review, to lead the team of parents and school staff that will transition students from six schools to two; and our French Immersion students from Monsignor Uyen to their new home at the Our Lady of Fatima site. More details about this will be announced in the fall.
For now, we are all extremely pleased that this project will move forward. These new state-of-the-art facilities will provide improved educational opportunities for our Catholic families in Chatham for many generations of students to come.
I want to acknowledge again the members of the Pupil Accommodation Review Committee, both from the school communities and the parishes, who helped to shape this vision for the future. And I especially want to thank the staff of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, with whom we have an excellent and cooperative relationship. Their assistance to us in this project has been extremely valuable.
On behalf of our senior administration and the Board of Trustees, let me wish you a safe, happy and healthy summer, filled with God’s blessings!
Director of Education