St. Catherine de Sienne students to be moved to CSDM’s new school

By P.A. Sévigny

Following several weeks of negotiations with both EMSB (English Montreal School Board) officials and other school board authorities including Yves Bolduc, Quebec’s Minister of Education, local CSDM (Commission Scholaire de Montréal) school commissioner Marie-Josée Mastromonaco told The Suburban that students from the borough’s heavily damaged St. Catherine de Sienne primary school will be sent to the CSDM’s new St. Raymond’s primary school for at least the next two years.

“For at least two years, students [and staff] from St. Catherine de Sienne will be sharing the new school with students from the local [St. Raymond’s] district,” said Mastromonaco. “Depending upon how much space they use, I think that there should be plenty of space left for everybody.”

As reported in recent issues of The Suburban, CSDM school board authorities decided to close St. Catherine de Sienne for at least two years in order to repair extensive damage that was the result of a serious leak in the school’s roof that went on to rot the building’s second floor support beams along with a few walls and other parts of the school.

While parents continued to be concerned about the safety and health of their children who were still expected to complete their school year amid the school’s present decrepit facilities, CSDM school board authorities were forced to consider what could be done for the nearly 300 children who would need both a new school and a new classroom in time for next September.
Following a number of meetings with the city’s EMSB, school board officials from both the EMSB and the CSDM considered a number of options that would include everything from re-opening the EMSB’s St. John Bosco in the nearby Ville Émard District to opening up empty classrooms in Marymount High School that’s located on the Côte St. Luc Road.

“There was a lot of discussion,” said Mastromonaco,”…but in the end, we decided that sending all of the St. Catherine kids to the new school would be the best option for everybody.”

Located on the Upper Lachine Road across the street from the Georges St. Pierre Park, the school is still under construction even as school board authorities insist that it will be ready for occupation in a few months’ time. While the new school was originally meant to help create some new space for the CSDM’s already crowded schools and classrooms, even Mastromonaco admits that nothing much can be done about the school board’s crowded schools until the old school is properly restored, renovated and ready for a new generation of young students.

“It’s not the ideal solution,” said Mastromonaco, “…but this is the only way that we can make sure that all of the students who live in NDG get to stay in the borough.”
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