April 23, 2013

DSBN, City of St. Catharines Discuss Partnership 

On Tuesday, April 23, DSBN Trustees voted to continue discussions with the City of St. Catharines to develop a new downtown school at the site of Alexandra Public School.

Staff from the Board and the City have been discussing a potential partnership to build a new school for students of Maywood, Memorial and Alexandra Public Schools on the current Alexandra property. The three schools are in the final stages of an accommodation review process, which will be decided by a vote of the DSBN’s Board of Trustees.

The proposal would see the new, combined school built at 84 Henry Street near the city’s downtown core. Originally, the site was deemed too small to build a school for 550 pupils; however, the City has offered the DSBN the use of a portion of Catherine Street Park. Additionally, the City has proposed to close the section of George Street that runs behind the school to give students easy and safe access to the park.

“In an accommodation review, our number-one priority is to provide students with the best possible education in the best possible facility,” said Dalton Clark, Trustee for St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake.  “In this instance, there may be an opportunity to create a win-win scenario by working with the City to build a new school in a more central location. We believe this is a partnership worth exploring.”

 “The Alexandra site is ideal for a new school in that it further supports our ongoing efforts to revitalize our downtown core, creates walkable neighbourhoods, and encourages full use of our existing green space. The City welcomes the opportunity to partner with the DSBN,” said Mayor Brian McMullan.

The Alexandra site is the most centrally located within the catchment area, which would place over 75% of students within walking distance of the new school. The Alexandra site is also situated closer to the City’s downtown core, supporting the revitalization efforts currently underway.

Staff will report back to the Board on the progress of discussions with the City on May 14, the earliest date Trustees could decide the outcome of the accommodation review.