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May 31, 2024

New K-8 school in Dundalk announced

Dignitaries gathered at the new Dundalk school announcement at Highpoint Community School.

BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — On Friday, May 31, MPP Rick Byers and Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced the construction of a new K-8 elementary school in Dundalk, scheduled for completion in September, 2027. Several dignitaries, stakeholders and media representatives gathered at Highpoint Community School for the announcement, following approximately four years of local advocacy. Lecce thanked Byers, the Southgate Council and residents for expressing their concerns over the years. "I thank the community through exciting growth, for their continued patience as we assessed the school need here," said Lecce. "This is a great example of government and the community working together."

The new K-8 school, which will be located in the Glenelg Phase 3 Subdivision developed by Dundalk Village Two Inc., will help accommodate an increased need for pupil spaces in Dundalk, related to an unprecedented rate of growth in the Dundalk community. A seven-acre area of the new development has been earmarked for the facility and will be constructed in the first phase. The new school will provide space for 735 pupils and 54 childcare spaces, and will be in addition to existing pupil spaces at the existing Dundalk schools — Dundalk and Proton Community School, and Highpoint Elementary School — which are presently operating at 136% and 146% capacity, respectively. Both schools will continue to operate regardless of the new facility. The new K-8 school will bring the total number of pupil spaces in Dundalk to 1,322.

This project is part of a $1.3 billion plan that more than doubles funding to build new schools and expansions, including child care spaces, announced by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, as part of the Capital Priorities Program. The overall investment, which is the highest ever made in a single year, supports the creation of more than 27,000 new student spaces and more than 1,700 licensed child care spaces at schools across Ontario.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Rick Byers.

The community of Dundalk, located on the eastern boundary of the Township of Southgate, has witnessed rapid and unprecedented growth in recent years. In the Dundalk school boundary area, pupil enrolment is expected to be 1,547 by the start of the 2033-2034 school year, an increase from 830 pupils in September 2023.

“As the community of Dundalk continues to grow, our community services and infrastructure need to develop to meet the demands of the community, so that all residents can enjoy a great quality of life in our thriving rural communities,” noted Brian Milne, Mayor of the Township of Southgate. "This is a historic turning point and (signifies) an amazing future. I thank Minister Lecce and the Ministry of Education, the Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB), and Dundalk Village Two Inc., for coming to the table and making this new school a reality for the growing community of Dundalk.”

“We are thrilled by the news of this significant investment in a brand new school build with child care spaces to meet the growing demand that we have been witnessing in recent years in Dundalk,” said Bluewater District School Board Chair Jane Thomson. “With new families continuing to move into this high-growth community, our board will be well-positioned to accommodate the educational needs of area students for many years to come. Thank you to the Ministry of Education for recognizing a vital need in the Dundalk area by approving and funding this project. We also appreciate the efforts of our local MPP Rick Byers, who has continued to advocate on behalf of our students, our many supportive municipal and community partners, and our staff whose thorough research and hard work were instrumental in a successful business case submission.”

Dina Lundy, Chief Administrative Officer for the Township of Southgate, thanked the Ministry after years of advocacy efforts by both the Township and BWDSB. “We have been pushing for this for a long time. Additional pupil spaces in Dundalk will help with accommodating the unprecedented growth in Dundalk. I am grateful to Minister Lecce and his Ministry for seeing the merits of our business case and making this new school a reality for our community.”

"We're keen to go," said Milne. "...and the planning staff will do everything in their power to move it along."

 


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