By Charlie Senack, Manotick Messenger
A new catholic elementary school is coming to the growing community of Findlay Creek.
On Dec. 2, Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce joined Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari and a handful of others to announce the news, which will help the area deal with its current overcrowding issues.
The provincial government has put $13.2 million on the table for the modern, accessible, and well ventilated space.
“I know how important this is to the community; I’ve heard it, I’ve met with members of the community, and I know Goldie worked very hard,” Lecce said on the zoom call of about 30 listeners. “She’s a fighter, she wanted this done, she believes time is of the essence, the community is growing very fast.”
The new catholic school will include 507 student spaces, and will also feature two childcare rooms for 39 licensed childcare spaces. The building will be located at Kelly Farm Drive and Findlay Creek Drive.
It was also announced that École secondaire catholique Paul-Desmarais in Stitsville will receive funding for an expansion. The $12 million price tag will add 389 secondary school spaces.
While more work still needs to be done to help the rapidly growing communities, Lecce notes this is the seventh funding announcement in three years for Carleton riding schools. That equals more than $100 million being invested into the community.
Parents of Findlay Creek have long been advocating for a new school to be built in the area. Currently, only Vimy Ridge Elementary is the only school in the growing suburb.
Ghamari also noted that while more still needs to be done, it’s an important step in the right direction.
“This is excellent news for the rapidly growing community of Findlay Creek. Quality and accessible public education is very important to me. I believe giving students the opportunity to learn in a modern and more importantly a local environment helps them prepare for future success,” she noted.
Tom D’Amico, Director of Education for the Ottawa Catholic School Board, said this initiative has been needed for a while. He also noted it will help alleviate overcrowding in other OCSB schools.
“Today’s announcement will soon end the practice of busing Catholic students from Findlay creek out of their community — something that has been happening for the last 15 years,” D’Amico said. “The ministries 13.2 million dollar investment will allow our planning and facilities department staff to continue the design of nice, modern facilities which are conducive to deep learning in the Ottawa Catholic school board and provide a well rounded Catholic education to our students.”
Trustee Spencer Warren, who has been advocating for a school to be built in Findlay Creek since first being elected, was also very pleased with the news.
“One of my first priorities when becoming a Trustee with the OCSB was trying to secure funding for an elementary school in Findlay Creek,” he noted. It was added to the top priority when requesting funding from the Ministry and we are grateful it was finally approved after six years of trying. We believe the community of Findlay Creek is rapidly growing and are excited to be building a school the community can be proud of. I’m extremely excited about this announcement. “
It’s unclear when shovels will be in the ground, but projects of this size usually take years to complete.