New Brockville grade school would cost $14M

In this November 2016, file photo, David Coombs, superintendent of schools with the Upper Canada District School Board, addresses the audience during an ARC meeting. The school board has estimated a new elementary school in Brockville would cost nearly $14 million, which would replace three elementary schools.(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

BROCKVILLE – A new 500 seat elementary school in Brockville would cost nearly $14 million.

That figure is highlighted in a pupil accommodation review overview by superintendent Phil Dawes, 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 pupil accommodation review was done 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” conditional closure plans – Toniata Public School would be closed with a new school build that also takes in Commonwealth Public School and Prince of Wales Public School (which would close in September 2018). The plan is conditional on receiving funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Prince of Wales is a “Category 1” school identified for immediate closure by the end of the next year.

That new elementary school is the second item on the UCDSB capital priorities list with a price tag of $13,969,576. It’s behind a proposed $41 million super school for Cornwall.

An exact breakdown of those costs was not immediately available.

The current school enrollment is 225 at Toniata, 102 at Commonwealth and 151 at Prince of Wales. Though enrollment projection indicates the student body will drop at Commonwealth and Prince of Wales.

The board estimates that it would save $7.3 million in capital work through the closure of Prince of Wales and $8.4 million through the closure and consolidation of Toniata and Commonwealth.

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 Brockville elementary 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.

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

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