Cornwall super school will cost $41M

In this April 2016, file photo, a police cruiser sits outside CCVS during a community event. The UCDSB is proposing this building and St. Lawrence Secondary School close and a new school be built. That new building will cost $41 million. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A new city super school to replace Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School (CCVS) and St. Lawrence Secondary School (SLSS) would cost just over $41 million.

That figure is highlighted in school board documents released to trustees on Monday.

Those trustees will make their final decision Thursday night in Kemptville on closing and consolidating up to a dozen schools in Eastern Ontario.

The move was made to get rid of up to 10,000 empty classroom seats and maximize funding based on the new government formula. Though the plan only eliminates 2,358 spaces board-wide (if all the recommendations are completed).

Under the so-called “Category 3 School Closures,” SLSS and CCVS would close on the condition that the Ministry of Education provide funding for a new Cornwall grade 7-12 school.

That new school, with the ability to hold 1,400 students, is at the top of the UCDSB capital priorities list with a price tag of $41,062,944.

An exact breakdown of those costs was not immediately available, including whether that cost includes buying land or if the school would be built on one of the existing sites.

The business case to the province was also based on the “disposition of 795 excess pupil spaces at the former General Vanier S.S.,” according to the board’s documentation. That school was closed at the end of the 2010-2011 school year through the Boundary 2020 process.

CCVS’ current capacity is 1,266 student spaces while SLSS is 774.

According to the UCDSB, it would cost $46,911,465 to fix up both existing buildings.

Not only is the plan cheaper on paper, but it would also be a financial advantage to the school board.

The board would get 100 per cent funding for a new school from the Ontario government instead of paying for work from its school operations and maintenance budget to keep the two existing buildings, thus freeing up millions of dollars for other work.

The new school would most likely still carry the CCVS name in order to qualify to keep the yearly Dr. Arthur and Anna Battista Scholarships, which started in 1998.

The money comes from a bequest from the doctor, who was a former graduate. The scholarships for deserving students are $4,000 for university applicants and $3,000 for college applicants.

Thursday night’s school board meeting in Kemptville starts at 6:30 p.m.