ADSB gets approval to start transformation of former high school

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The Algoma District School Board (ADSB) has received final approval from the Ministry of Education’s Capital Business and Support Division and can now begin the renovation of the former Alexander Henry High School to become a new Junior Kindergarten to 8 elementary school, named the Boreal French Immersion Public School.

The process began in October 2015, however, the most recent approval will see a total of $12.4 million to support the retrofit of the new Boreal school. During the process,David Orazietti, Sault Ste Marie’s MPP at that time stated, “Our government continues to support local students with significant investments in better schools to support better learning outcomes for students. This is an important step in moving the capital plan of the Algoma District School Board forward, but more importantly, it represents an enhanced learning environment to support students and their families.”

Algoma District School Board Director of Education Lucia Reece sees the funding and the move forward as an example of effective use of existing space, recognizing that the new Boreal French Immersion Public School will help ADSB address enrolment pressures, provide quality programs and enhance partnerships for years to come.

With the final Ministry go-ahead, renovations and upgrades will begin on site immediately. Boreal French Immersion School will include exciting features for students such as a Discovery Centre, Learning Commons and Technology rooms. The Board is proud of the work of our school councils at FH Clergue and Rosedale and the parent community as a whole for their input and hard work through the process. The Board is also proud to work with local professionals on this project – contractor SalDan, Architects/Engineers – MET Engineering, David Ellis Architect Inc. and Elliot Engineering as well as many local subcontractors to execute the vision of the project for students.

This site also includes plans to become a true community hub to utilize public assets effectively within our communities. There will be a daycare within the school building. In a separate wing of the building that will physically separate the connection of the school and the hub will include the Plant department of ADSB and the Transportation Consortium which supports transportation for all students within the district. The Board continues discussions with the Municipality and Library Board for the inclusion of the Public Library in this separate part of the building as well, which could become a model within the Province of interconnecting Literacy and Learning given the important role of Public Libraries in our communities.

In Sault Ste. Marie, ADSB’s elementary French Immersion programs are located at the recently built FH Clergue Public School and at Rosedale Public School. For the 2017/2018 school year, students will continue their studies at these two sites. The French immersion families at both schools will play an important part in transition planning and in helping to create the new Boreal FI Public School identity. They have already participated in the process for identifying a new mascot and school colours for Boreal FI Public School and they will be invited to help design a school logo for the new school.

Algoma District School Board Chair Jennifer Sarlo shared “This funding announcement is great news for our Board. The Ministry of Education has affirmed our vision for this retrofitted facility that will effectively serve our French immersion students well into the future. The plan to create a community hub on site aligns well with the Ministry’s vision of establishing partnerships with community groups to maximize efficiencies that benefit our community and our students. Thank you to our Administration and Plant Department for their perseverance. We appreciate the patience of our French immersion families as we have worked through this process and we look forward to getting to work on making our vision a reality.