The town of Coteau du Lac could soon get an English public elementary school.
The Lester B. Pearson School board says it is in discussions with the town to find land to build an elementary school to service an area that’s expected to see a population boom in the next few years.
Carol Heffernan, the board’s assistant director general explained the extension of Highway 30, and its economic spinoffs, and the planned construction of a new intermodal sorting station by Canadian Pacific will bring more people to live in the region. She said the school board wants to be prepared.
Area boards are already struggling to keep up with the needs of an ever-growing student population in Vaudreuil-Dorion, St-Lazare and Île Perrot, Heffernan said.
On the English side, the Pearson board plans to add a permanent extension to St-Patrick Elementary School in Pincourt, which would add place for about 200 students. That school currently has portable classrooms, which will stay in place until at least 2016. Heffernan said the board is also looking to extend Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary in Vaudreuil-Dorion.
The board has been trying to find land for a new elementary school for several years, but so far those efforts have proven unsuccessful. Earlier this year, the city of Vaudreuil-Dorion offered up a parcel, but the board rejected it because it was close to the city’s sewage treatment plant, and the air smelled of sewage. While the board hasn’t given up on its quest to build a new school the situation in the region is becoming critical. The population continues to grow, and the Quebec government has recently put in place new standards that will see the class size decrease from a maximum of 29 to 26, and down to 20 for Grades 1 and 2.
There is a hope that when the site for the new hospital is chosen, it will have enough space for French and English Schools, as well as an eventual CEGEP and university. The health ministry is expected to make an announcement about the hospital site in the next few weeks.
Heffernan said the situation in the English board isn’t as bad as the one in the French board, because Macdonald High School in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, and Beaconsfield High School are fairly close by, and already have large segments of students from Off-Island.
On the French side, the Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs can’t build schools fast enough. It opened two new schools in Vaudreuil-Dorion and St-Zotique this year. It already needs to build one more school in Vaudreuil-Dorion and another in St-Lazare in the next few years, said Colette Frappier, a spokesperson for the board.
She said the priority will be to build a new school in St-Lazare by 2014. After that, the board hopes to build a school in Vaudreuil-Dorion. In St-Lazare, l’Orée-du-Bois school is overloaded and has had to add portable classrooms, and there are already 100 children from that town who are bused to Vaudreuil-Dorion or to Hudson. At its last council meeting, the town of St-Lazare passed a resolution announcing its support for a new French elementary school to be built on its territory.
Both Frappier and Heffernan said it was still too early to say whether their boards needed to build a new high school for the area.
“To have a new High School, we have to have seen a population increase for 10 consecutive years,” Frappier said.