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CDSBEO and UCDSB Reach Deal about Cornwall Program Sites

The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) and the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) have successfully concluded discussions, resulting in a Memorandum of Understanding to exchange facilities in Cornwall.

The CDSBEO and UCDSB have shared a common site located at 1500 Cumberland Street, which is the current site of St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School, and the Cornwall Campus of the TR Leger School for Adult, Alternative, and Continuing Education (formerly General Vanier Secondary School). Since the 1990’s, the facility has been the location of St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School (CDSBEO) and the primary program site for TR Leger School (UCDSB).

Through their respective Pupil Accommodation Review processes, both boards identified surplus school property that formed the focus for the recent board-to-board discussions. For the UCDSB, the former General Vanier site was declared as a property surplus, while the CDSBEO has several surplus facilities including the current Immaculate Conception, St. Columban’s and Sacred Heart Catholic Schools.

In January, the Ministry of Education announced that it would fund the CDSBEO’s acquisition of the former General Vanier Secondary School from the UCDSB to accommodate a new consolidated JK-6 Catholic school for Sacred Heart/St. Columban’s, as well as a grade 7/8 program for St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School. The new 7/8 program would accommodate all grade 7 and 8 students from Bishop Macdonell, St. Anne, and the consolidated Sacred Heart/St. Columban’s Catholic Schools.

In June 2017, the Upper Canada District School Board received word that the Ministry of Education would fund the building of a new public high school (grades 7-12) for Cornwall, consolidating the current Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School with St. Lawrence Secondary School. The Ministry announced it would commit $39 million for this project.

Through much discussion and a strong partnership, the Memorandum of Understanding supports the exchange of school properties. The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario will purchase the site of the former General Vanier Secondary School, and the Upper Canada District School Board will purchase Immaculate Conception Catholic School.

“This exchange is a great example of school boards working together to ensure that the best programming is available for all students while remaining fiscally responsible,” noted CDSBEO Chair and Trustee for the City of Cornwall and Glengarry County, Todd Lalonde.

UCDSB Chair Jeff McMillan added that “the integration of educational services in these facilities will help to address the immediate needs for program space that suits our current requirements. This is both a practical and a timely solution for our respective needs to serve students in the best way possible.”

“While our two Boards have had a thirty-year history of cooperation on the St. Joseph’s/General Vanier site, this latest transaction is absolutely the best use of available resources and will provide our Catholic school community with an excellent facility,” explained CDSBEO Vice-Chair and Trustee for the City of Cornwall and Glengarry County, Ron Eamer.

David McDonald, UCDSB 2nd Vice Chair and Trustee for the Cornwall area, commented that “this exchange builds on our commitment to collaborate with our community partners like the CDSBEO, to ensure students throughout the district are best served by the educational facilities they need. We are pleased that many students in the Cornwall area will be able to benefit from these facilities.”

Both boards are extremely pleased with the outcome of the agreement, as all students in the Cornwall community will be well served for many years to come. The exchange of properties will be in effect for September 2018.

Board member meeting
(Left to Right) UCDSB Director of Education Stephen Sliwa, UCDSB Chair Jeff McMillan, CDSBEO Chair Todd Lalonde, and CDSBEO Director of Education John Cameron.

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