The Ontario Ministry of Education has approved an additional $12.4 million towards a new Kindergarten to Grade 12 school planned for Forest, officials announced this week.
“The additional funding will create 162 more student spaces and 25 more licensed childcare spaces as the Lambton Kent District School Board prepares to get shovels in the ground,” a news release from Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton noted. “This investment is fantastic news for our community and will ensure that families and students in Forest have access to world-class learning, close to home, for years to come.”
The funding, announced Friday, brings the government’s total investment in the new school to nearly $40 million and will ensure the school has the capacity to support 1186 student spaces and 49 childcare spaces, the government noted, adding that the school will include three childcare rooms along with a two-room EarlyON child and family centre offering free programs for families and children from birth to six years old.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support from the Ministry of Education and Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton’s efforts to advocate on behalf of the LKDSB to support the Forest area community in order to build a state-of-the-art Kindergarten to Grade 12 school which will meet student and family needs,” said LKDSB chair Randy Campbell. “The increased scope for the project will allow us to be forward thinking in our design plans and increase pupil and child care spaces, as well as accommodate increased construction costs based on the current market.”
The new school will be located at 37 Beechwood Avenue in Forest, and the LKDSB is currently inviting members of the community to share their thoughts on a potential name.
Meanwhile, the Forest Area of Schools Transition Committee continues to met regularly, and LKDSB staff has met with schools and community stakeholders including Kettle & Stoney Point First Nation, to develop plans for the design, the board noted, adding that the final design requires Ministry approval.
“The LKDSB is planning for a possible groundbreaking in spring 2024,” the board added. “The overall project, including design, tender and construction, is likely to be a three-year process.
“The timeline for completion of the Kindergarten to Grade 12 school is still to be determined.