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$11.4 million approved for new St. Boniface school in Breslau

[Faisal Ali / The Observer]

Students at St. Boniface Catholic school could find themselves in a new building – and new community – as early as spring 2021 now that the province has approved funding for the project.

The $11.4 million allocated on Friday clears the way for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) to build on a site in the south end of Breslau. Along with space for 257 students from JK to Grade 8, the facility will house an EarlyON child and family centre and a 88-space daycare operation.

The board purchased a 3.5-acre property on Starlight Avenue last year at a cost of just over $2 million, and is currently in the process of acquiring an additional 1.5 acres at the same $588,000-per-acre price tag, funded by Ministry of Education grants and development charges assessed to new construction.

“We were able to get this secured and out the door,” said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris of the funding.

The approvals mean the board can move ahead with a project that’s been in the works since 2013 under the previous government, he added.

With the funding approved and the formal paperwork expected this week, the board can move ahead with construction, aiming for completion in the spring of 2021, said chief financial officer Shesh Maharaj following Friday’s announcement, adding a mid-year move for St. Boniface students is a possibility.

“The tender documents are all ready to go. Once we get the letters from the ministry, we can release the hounds.”

If work is completed by March Break, for instance, that would provide enough time to pack up at the Maryhill location and get students transferred to Breslau, he said. Failing that, the school would open its doors in September 2021.

“We are thrilled to receive the news that we can now proceed with our new Breslau school, said WCDSB director of education Loretta Notten in a release.“The community has eagerly awaited this project for some years and we know that it will serve the staff, students, parents and all who learn and gather at St Boniface for many years to come, just as our previous building has all these many years. We are excited to see the project take flight and eagerly anticipate the day we can walk through the new doors of St Boniface.”

A new building would replace the current St. Boniface, which has an enrolment of about 150. The current yellow brick building constructed in 1898, the third iteration since a school was first built in the village in 1834, was augmented with additions in 1965 and 1968.

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