Scott Johnson called it “jaw-dropping.”
The new Gregory A. Hogan elementary school nearing completion on The Rapids Parkway is going to be a spacious, bright building that’s “beautiful and creative,” says the director of education for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.
“There’s going to be a lot of natural light all day and the gym will have windows that will light up the school at night when games and activities are happening,” he said.
“I couldn’t be happier with the design.”
The $24-million build continues to be on schedule for receiving students in January and will be the local Catholic board’s biggest and newest elementary school, said Johnson.
When ground broke on the new Gregory A. Hogan school in May 2022, it was expected to be ready for occupancy in September and cost approximately $22 million. But labour shortages and material costs pushed the price tag to $24 million and board officials announced last year that it would take until January 2024 to open.
That cost and timeline is still accurate, Johnson said Monday.
“We have a meeting with the builder in September to confirm the details and the exact date that we get the keys,” he said.
If there are no delays, the keys will be handed to the board on Dec. 23 and students will start classes there in the New Year.
Although the school is built to accommodate as many as 659 students, the initial number attending is expected to be 560 who are currently at the existing Gregory H. Hogan School on Hogan Drive near Cathcart Boulevard in Sarnia.
Once the students move over to the new school, renovations will begin at the current Gregory A. Hogan built in 1978. Once completed, students from Sacred Heart School will move to the renovated Gregory A. Hogan and the Sacred Heart building will be sold.
The new school building on Rapids Parkway boasts several features not found in most elementary schools, Johnson said.
Probably the most impressive feature is a 900-square-foot community room that will be used for student and staff gatherings, special learning opportunities and as a chapel.
It is being made possible by a $200,000 donation from Barry and Marcia Hogan, Barry and Erika Hogan, and their families.
“Thanks to their generous contribution, the new school will have a common room with lots of windows and a glass door,” Johnson said.
The design also includes a double gym, another feature many elementary schools don’t have.
“We’re very excited about it,” Johnson added. “It will be an absolutely beautiful school with a great deal of natural light.”
Currently, Wellington Builders is busy doing the exterior brickwork on the building and installing the roof. Doors and windows will be added in the next few weeks, closing up the building so that interior work won’t be impacted by the weather.
The new Gregory A. Hogan elementary school will be French Immersion (JK – Grade 8) and contain six daycare classrooms with 88 spaces to be operated by Lambton County.