This morning, I was pleased to join Member of Provincial Parliament, the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, at Stittsville Public School for a very special announcement regarding a public high school in Stittsville.
The need for a public high school in the community has been a talking point for a long time. First appearing on the radar in 2003, later gaining momentum in 2006 as Stittsville’s burgeoning youth population continued to grow.
At that time, it was felt that the high school would need to be built by 2010 in order to meet the needs of Stittsville’s population growth. However, due to a lack of funding, that did not occur.
Stittsville’s population is now approximately 34,000, up 15,000 from when the need was initially established (that’s a growth of over 75%). There is no other community of this size in Ontario that does not have a public high school. That number is expected to grow to over 70,000 within the next 20 years.
In 2016, a community-led effort by Stittsville residents Jennifer Smith and Jenny Guth in collaboration with my office, collected signatures on a petition to make the funding of a Stittsville Public School the number one priority on the OCDSB Capital Funding Priorities list. With the help of some very committed individuals like Leonard Baak, that goal was achieved and a strong case was presented to the Provincial government in late 2016.
Now, after much determination and hard work from many of our residents over the years, I am thrilled to share that the province of Ontario will at last be providing funding for a Stittsville Public High School!
Getting a public high school in Stittsville has been one of my top priorities as a City Councillor since being elected into office.
I was proud to be in attendance at Stittsville Public School this morning as MPP Chiarelli made the announcement confirming that $37.4 million of funding would be provided by the province to build a school in the Fernbank area. The new structure is expected to accommodate an estimated 1,353 pupils.
This is exciting news for the community as this is an institution that our community has been waiting for a very long time. It is the result of many dedicated individuals working very closely with school boards, the community, and of course, our provincial representatives.
I would like to provide my sincere thanks to MPP Chiarelli for helping to finally make this request a reality. I would also like to thank Jennifer Smith, Jenny Guth, OCDSB trustee, Lynn Scott, and everyone else who has assisted in this process over the years gone by as well as Jim Watson as Mayor of the City for his support on this file and MPP Lisa Macleod for supporting the efforts of our community.
The Fernbank site, located north of Fernbank Road, west of Robert Grant and will be south of the Cope Road extension, and a number of other school sites were identified through the Fernbank Community Design Plan as potential locations for future schools, which are shown on the demonstration plan .
It is located within the CRT development lands and the development applications for this location have been draft approved and should be registered later this year. In the draft plan of subdivision for this property, the school is noted as the Block 654 Institutional.
Today, more than 500 high school students bus out of Stittsville every day to attend South Carleton (15km away), while others switch to another school board so they can remain in Stittsville. No parent should have to choose between switching school boards and sending their children so far away every day.
The new facility is presently slated to open in 2021 with many of the details to be worked out over the coming months. As updates arise, I look forward to sharing this information with residents in my electronic newsletter.
I would lastly like to thank all member of the community for your patience and support as Stittsville moves forward with this important new project in sight. You have all helped to make this future a reality. Thank you.