The Town of Blind River is getting a new $36.7M school.
Funding for the school, which has been in the works since 2018, was announced today by Sault MPP Ross Romano on behalf of Ontario's Education Minister Stephen Lecce.
Today's funding includes the $17.5M announced for the school in 2018.
The school will have facilities for 381 students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 from the Algoma District School Board (ADSB) and the Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario (CSPGNO). It will also add 64 new childcare spaces in the community.
CSPGNO will have 72 spaces in the school for 72 French-language elementary students.
The 64 childcare spaces will be housed in four new childcare rooms and two new rooms dedicated to the EarlyOn Child and Family Centre
"By approving this funding, our government will give hundreds of children a place to learn, to play and, of course, to grow," said Romano. "Northern communities need modern, state-of-the-art facilities for childcare spaces and I'm pleased to tell you that our government is listening and taking action for northern families."
The school is a collaboration between the two school boards but its significance is also heralded as a boon to the community by Blind River Mayor Sally Hagman.
"Wow! This is so amazing to hear that a new school for Blind River is coming to fruition," Hagman said. "We heard, we've been patiently waiting and now, with the provincial government announcement, today, the wheels are in motion."
She lauded the opportunity to have children in Blind River educated in both official languages and enthusiastically welcomed the addition of 64 new childcare spaces that will be available in the new school.
"(It) allows parents the comfort of bringing their children to one location where preschoolers can go along with their school-aged siblings," she said. "The Town of Blind River is not only excited about the end product of a new school but the journey and all the facets, from the turning of the soil to constructing the school providing jobs for local trades."
Lucia Reece, ADSB Director of Education, said the board will be visiting the community and talking with families soon to share drawings and begin the naming process for its part of the new school.
She said it's too soon to say when the school might be expected to open and much of the timing will depend on the tendering process.
"We are extremely grateful for and excited about this joint Blind River project, as it is great news for the community and our students. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Grand Nord to provide unique, innovative learning spaces that will ensure families and students have access to a quality, modern learning environment in the years ahead, as well as provide a space that is culturally and linguistically vibrant,” she said.
The new school, ADSB - Blind River JK-12 and CSPGNO - Ecole publique des Pins Blanc will be located at 180 Youngfox Rd. in Blind River.