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CQSB breaks ground on South Shore elementary school

Ruby Pratka, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

English-speaking elementary school students on the South Shore will soon have a school to call their own. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 17 for the yet-to-be- named elementary school, on the site of a former religious community centre in Saint-Romuald.

“Today is a big day for us; our community has been waiting for a long time for a school on the South Shore,” said Stephen Pigeon, director general of the Central Québec School Board (CQSB), opening a ceremony which he billed as being “bilingual – like every student who graduates from one of our high schools.

“Four long years ago, there was an announcement by the [provincial] government that a school would be built. After too many delays, and a pandemic, we are proud to be here today. The dream is finally coming true,” Pigeon said. Construction of the new high school was originally expected to start in late March of this year.

The school, expected to open in fall 2023, will replace St. Vincent School in Sainte-Foy. After the South Shore school opens, the current St. Vincent building will be demolished to make room for a consolidated CQSB high school, replacing Quebec High School and St. Patrick’s High School, which should welcome its first students in fall 2026.

St. Vincent principal Julien Duchamp and vice principal Sergine Gauvin attended the ceremony in Saint-Romuald, along with Brigitte Duchesneau, city councillor for the district; CQSB chair Stephen Burke; vice chair Jean Robert and several members of the council of commissioners. Burke thanked everyone involved with the project for their patience. “This project took a long time coming but now we have it,” he concluded.

Debbie Cornforth is the parent of a student at St. Vincent School, a member of the school’s governing board and the CQSB elementary school parent commissioner. “As parents, it’s a great privilege to send our kids to English school, but our schools, although they are very community-centred, aren’t local for our students,” she said. “This [South Shore] school has been in the making for over 20 years. I’d like to personally thank the CQSB for not giving up on it, and for striving to make the lives of parents and students on the South Shore a little easier.”

After the speeches, Burke and several other attendees, including five CQSB elementary school students who are expected to attend the new school, donned hard hats and picked up shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking.

Benoit Sévigny, director of buildings and equipment for the CQSB, previously told the QCT that the South Shore school would accommodate approximately 280-300 students, and students from the North Shore who attend St. Vincent would be reassigned to other CQSB schools. The budget of the project is estimated at $20 million.

Editors’ note: The QCT was confronted with a number of logistical issues on the day of the ground- breaking. We would like to warmly thank CQSB board chair Stephen Burke and our colleagues Manuel Cardenas and Alexandre Bellemare of the Journal de Lévis for helping us overcome them and produce this report.

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