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Schools and Rapid Population Growth

Explosive population growth in Simcoe-Grey has highlighted a need for a stepped-up discussion by parents, politicians, students and Board of Education officials with regards to the state of schools.  All a person has to do is to drive around large new subdivisions in towns in all parts of Simcoe-Grey to realize the region is experiencing rapid growth. Planning sessions for future school expansion, renovation and new construction are ongoing.   

Recently, the province provided the Simcoe County District School Board with approval to proceed to tender for the new Wasaga Beach Public School. This is supported by an investment of $14.9 million, which includes additional funding of $4.2 million. 

The Government of Ontario is delivering more than $26.6 billion in education funding for the 2022-23 school year, including an increase of over $600 million in September 2022, which is the highest investment in public education in Ontario’s history. Investing in the province’s schools is an integral part of Ontario’s Plan to Catch Up. The new school will have 406 new student spaces and will be located within the Sunnidale Trails subdivision in Wasaga Beach. 

In Alliston, students are already enjoying the benefits of attending a new school. 

The St. Cecelia Catholic School in Alliston (pictured above) opened this past September to welcome students on the first day of classes.   

Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson was invited back for a tour of the new school with Principal May Boucher. “It was a great opportunity to go to see the school.  The children were in class so I got to see the new facility in operation.  We went into the gym and saw a music class in session and it was quite impressive,“ said MPP Saunderson. 

St. Cecelia School in Alliston is an elementary school housing approximately 450 students from grades one to eight and is just one of many school projects on the radar for Simcoe-Grey.   

“This is one of the new schools that will be coming into the riding.  This government has committed over 40 million dollars to construct a new Banting Memorial Secondary School in Alliston.  It is the oldest functioning school in Simcoe-Grey and construction on the new school will begin shortly” Saunderson stated. 

The construction of new schools in Alliston doesn’t stop with St. Cecelia. MPP Saunderson said the recent decision to move forward to construct a new Alliston Banting Memorial High School now shines a spotlight on Collingwood Collegiate Institute as being the oldest operative school in the riding. 

In late January, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced the Ontario government will invest $42.5 million to build a new school to replace the aging Banting Memorial High School in Alliston. The new high school will be designed to meet the needs of just over 1,200 students.

At the time, the Alliston secondary school was the oldest functioning school in the riding.

From the Simcoe County District School Board website announcement: “The replacement school for Banting Memorial HS was included as a capital priority due to facility condition at the existing school and continued growth within the community. The total funding approved for the replacement school, which will include a child care centre, is $41.4M. The board is currently in the process of finalizing the location of the replacement school and has begun preliminary studies.”

While discussions in New Tecumseth were straight forward in that a plan was to replace the Alliston high school with a new facility, replacing Collingwood Collegiate Institute brings with it additional factors to consider. 

MPP Saunderson said decisions need to be finalized on the proposed size and catchment area of a new CCI in light of recent growth patterns in both Collingwood and nearby Wasaga Beach. 

“We have decisions to make about locating a new high school in Wasaga Beach and then scope the size of what will be the replacement school in Collingwood, so there is a lot of work to be done.  This is a government that is recognizing the importance of making sure that our communities have the infrastructure they need to serve our residents and provide the best and most up-to-date facilities” Saunderson said.

Collingwood Collegiate Institute is now the oldest functioning secondary school in the riding

Speaking on a local radio interview, MPP Saunderson said he believes the time has arrived for Wasaga Beach to have its own secondary school.  “Wasaga Beach has experienced population growth to the point where it is now approximately the same size as Collingwood.  It now needs its own high school” Saunderson said.

CLICK HERE to visit the Simcoe County District School Board “New Schools” section of its website for updates.