Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New K-8 Catholic Elementary School in Smiths Falls
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held today at the site of the new JK to Grade 8 Catholic elementary school, to be built in Smiths Falls. The new 423 pupil facility will be constructed on the existing St. Luke Catholic High School site, located at 4 Ross Street.
The gathering for the groundbreaking included CDSBEO administrative members, government dignitaries, and project architects. Father Rod McNeil of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Smiths Falls blessed the site.
CDSBEO Chair Todd Lalonde thanked the team of government representatives and Board staff who worked tirelessly to see the project through. “We are very happy to be partnering on this great adventure. I would like to thank the Ministry of Education and all of our partners who helped to make this dream a reality.”
Education Officer Denis Chartrand, representing the Ontario Ministry of Education, said that education is the result of collaboration of many partners. “I am very pleased to help celebrate the start of this project, and I am very happy for the Town of Smiths Falls. I would like to congratulate the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario for a project that will certainly enhance the wellbeing of its students, staff, and community.”
MPP Randy Hillier expressed his joy over the new school and its benefits to the community. “I think it really is a testament to the quality of education that we see with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario. A project like this brings growth to the community, and is certainly a positive and wonderful addition to the Town of Smiths Falls.”
Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to improve the community. “This is incredibly exciting news for our community. It is an amazing opportunity for the students to have the advantages of a new school, and all of the amenities that go along with a new facility. It is an amazing improvement to what we’ve had, and a very progressive move for the province and the Board to recognize Smiths Falls as a place that is growing, and as a great place to raise a family.”
Director of Education Wm. J. Gartland spoke about the determination involved in building the new school. He noted, “For years, the Board had a vision of building a new elementary school in the Smiths Falls area. Today, we have realized that vision. It is due to the hard work, commitment and on-going support of our school communities, Board staff and our partners in Catholic education.”
Preparations for the new school are now in full gear, and equipment is on-site to begin the first stages in the construction process. Ruiter (RCL) Construction has been hired to provide construction management services for the project. After submitting a business case, the Ministry of Education approved funding for the facility last fall, which will replace the existing St. Francis de Sales and St. James the Greater Catholic Elementary Schools.
The new elementary school will also include a pre-school/toddler child care program, as well as a community support centre supported by Lanark County. The facility will open in September 2018.
Photo left to right back row: Randy Hillier (MPP Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington), John Cameron (Associate Director of Education, CDSBEO), Todd Lalonde (CDSBEO Chair), Robin Reil (CDSBEO Vice-Chair), Fr. Rod McNeil (Pastor, St. Francis de Sales Parish), Shawn Pankow (Mayor, Town of Smiths Falls), Wm. J. Gartland (Director of Education, CDSBEO), Denis Chartrand (Education Officer, Ministry of Education), Zofia Jurewicz (President and Senior Project Architect at Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects), students Caelan Brown (left) and Brick Jones (right)
Fr. Rod McNeil led members of the choir from St. Francis de Sales and St. James the Greater Catholic Schools.
Director Gartland (right) and Chair Lalonde (left) serve the cake to guests and dignitaries at the official groundbreaking ceremony.
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