Students, staff and friends of Espanola’s École catholique La Renaissance and Sacred Heart Catholic School celebrated the official opening of their new French and English-language Catholic schools earlier today. The outdoor ceremony, which respected COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, bore witness to the advancement of Catholic education in Espanola. The new shared building houses a French-language school (Kindergarten to grade 12) operated by the Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon (CSC Nouvelon) and an English-language school (Kindergarten to grade 8) operated by the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB). The shared site also includes 50 daycare spaces in each school managed by Our Children, Our Future Daycare / Garderie Nos Enfants, Notre Avenir.
Located on Church Street in Espanola, the new two-story building offers students access to a modern learning environment that will benefit both schools. École catholique La Renaissance counts 240 students while 250 students attend Sacred Heart Catholic School. This $25.2 million project, funded by the Province of Ontario, is the result of a request made by the Ministry of Education to the school boards to work together in addressing student accommodation needs in Espanola. The goal was to maximize the use of space while ensuring that all students continue to have access to the best programming possible in quality school facilities. “Hard-working Espanola families deserve high-quality child care and safe learning environments for their children,” said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. “By building a new French-language JK-Grade 12 school and an English-language JK-Grade 8 school in Espanola and additional child care spaces in both schools, our government is investing in our youth — especially in rural communities — to help them prepare for lifelong success and get access to good paying jobs.”
“The joint project enhances Catholic education in Espanola while ensuring that linguistic differences are respected,” said Mr. André Bidal, CSC Nouvelon President. “We are excited to welcome all of our Francophone students, from Kindergarten to grade 12, in a single institution of learning where they can study and grow together.” “On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board, we are thankful to the Government of Ontario and the Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon for the collaborative effort which has allowed us to construct our state of the art new school, Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School. We are pleased to be able to provide our staff and families with a safe learning environment,” added Ms. Sandra Turco, Chair of the HSCDSB.
“The modern learning environment at École catholique La Renaissance will greatly benefit each of our students and help them to achieve academic success and promote their cultural and spiritual identity,” stated Mr. Paul Henry, CSC Nouvelon Director of Education and Secretary Treasurer. Faithful to its tradition of excellence, the new school will benefit from its modern learning infrastructure and ecological features.” -continued- -2- “We are delighted to see this joint project come to fruition,” said Ms. Rose Burton Spohn, HSCDSB Director of Education. “So many people have been instrumental in shepherding this capital project, from inception to completion. We are grateful to everyone for their assistance, patience, and expertise.” “On behalf of our staff, our students and their families; we are grateful for the opportunity open this new and wonderful facility. We already feel like it is our own and we look forward to continuing our Catholic traditions of faith and learning here for many generations to come,” explained Ms. Syndy Withers, Sacred Heart School Principal. “It is with great pride that we celebrate this historic moment with our Francophone school community in Espanola. The opening of our new school testifies to the vitality of French-language Catholic education in this region. Students and staff of the school look forward to taking their place in the community, the province and in the world,” stated Ms. Lynn MacLean, École catholique La Renaissance Principal.