June 12, 2013: Good news continues for the Town of Fort Erie. In a decision made at last evening’s District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) Board meeting, the members unanimously passed a recommendation from Senior Administration regarding the preferred location of a new high school.
After lengthy public consultation, which included 10 public meetings, the DSBN Senior Administration recommended that any new proposed highschool be located on lands in proximity to the Municipal Centre and Leisureplex.
“The new school will add to the Municipal campus feel of this location. E.J. Freeland always envisioned this area to have a high community focus”, stated Mayor Doug Martin. Rick Brady, Director of Community and Development Services for the Town and Council’s representative on the Review Committee, shares the Mayor’s sentiment “The central location for the new Secondary School will provide a meeting place for all students in Fort Erie and a unitary focus for the Town”.
Councillors John Hill and Stephen Passero also participated in the review, known as the “ARC”, which stands for Accommodation Review Committee. The Review addresses issues of declining enrolment and aging facilities and looked at Lake Erie corridor schools (Port Colborne High School, Fort Erie Secondary School and Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School). “The process was one of collaboration with guiding principles that helped make the consultation process run very smoothly. Participants felt that they were being heard”, stated John Hill, Ward 4 Councillor where Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School is located. Stephen Passero, Ward 1 Councillor where Fort Erie Secondary School is located noted “I am pleased that the school board has endorsed Council’s vision for a new secondary school. This state of the art facility, in a campus style atmosphere at the Municipal Centre will offer the students of the Town of Fort Erie an expanded range of programming and extra curriculars, and allow all of our public secondary school students to be under one roof creating a better sense of community. Council will be working tirelessly with all stakeholders to ensure this project becomes a reality for 2017.”
The new build, targeted for a September 2017 completion is contingent on approval from the Ministry of Education and will result in the closure of both the Fort Erie Secondary School and Ridgeway Crystal Beach Highschool. Students of both highschools will remain in the existing schools until the build is complete. Port Colborne Highschool, which was also part of the Accommodation Review will remain as is on Elgin Street.