Sarnia is getting a new Catholic elementary school.
The Education Ministry has approved $17 million for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board to build a new French immersion school and an attached child-care centre.
The board said the facility will accommodate 659 students from junior kindergarten to Grade 8, along with six child-care classrooms for up to 88 children.
If all goes well, it could be ready for occupancy by September of 2020.
When the new school opens, the 300 students at Sacred Heart elementary will move to Gregory A. Hogan and Sacred Heart on Lecaron Avenue will be closed.
The students of Gregory Hogan will move to the new facility.
The board’s education director said a bigger school is needed to handle the expanding French immersion program now housed at Gregory Hogan.
“French Immersion has been very popular, and every year our enrolment has grown,” said Deb Crawford. “We just keep squeezing.”
Gregory Hogan, just off Cathcart Boulevard, has 470 students and needs six additional portables to house them all.
Crawford said Sacred Heart’s population will be a better fit at Hogan, which has undergone a series of recent renovations.
Sacred Heart was built in 1948. Crawford said the new school won’t be built on that property because of its relatively small lot size of 3.2 acres.
The board will begin searching for land “as central and accessible to the community as possible,” Crawford said.
The ministry approved $14,371,913 for the elementary school and $2,672,104 for the pre-school facility, which will be operated by London Bridge Child Care.