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MONTREAL, MARCH 26, 2002- The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) has submitted to the Ministry of Education an updated three-year plan (2002-2005) with respect to additional classroom space requirements.

A total of $3.6 million is being requested to construct additional classrooms at four elementary schools which offer French immersion programs: East Hill in Rivière des Prairies, Dunrae Gardens in Mount Royal and Merton and Edinburgh in the borough of Côte Saint-Luc-Hampstead-Montreal West. In addition, the EMSB is also seeking financial assistance to build a new gymnasium for Royal West Academy.

There are presently 1,972 pupils who live in Rivière des Prairies, 347 of whom are bused to other schools outside of the community in either Montreal North or Ville d’Anjou. Given the continued growth in the area, a request for an additional five classrooms has been requested for East Hill, which has 536 students in a building with the capacity for 510.

At Dunrae Gardens, the forecasted enrolment for 2002-2003 is 435 pupils – 50 more than its present capacity. Taking into account the space required to carry out aspects of the curriculum reform and additional needs, five new classes are necessary. Dr. Horace Goddard, chairman of the EMSB Long Range Planning Committee, emphasizes that the majority of students residing in the Mount Royal area opt for French immersion. As a result. Dunrae Gardens has to turn many parents away at registration time He is concerned that many of these students end up being lost to the system and enroll in private schools.

In Côte St-Luc-Hampstead-Montreal West, Merton and Edinburgh each require three additional classrooms. While the schools are located within the same geographic area of St. Monica, St. Ignatius of Loyola, Hampstead, Elizabeth Ballantyne and Willingdon, only the latter offers French immersion. In addition, each of these facilities are filled to capacity. Merton has 377 students in a building which can house 336; Edinburgh has 410 pupils in a facility with the capacity for 385.

As for Royal West, the request for the construction of a gymnasium is not linked to classroom space. Rather, it is to indicate that the present gym does not meet the Ministry of Education’s standards and norms for the instruction of physical education at the high school level. Royal West has an enrolment of 850 students. The space between the play area on the courts and the wall is less than required by regulation. There is a fear that serious injury can occur to students since there are no buffer zones between the courts and the wall. The construction of a new gymnasium at a cost of $1.7M would improve the quality of instruction to the students, enable them to compete in GMAA activities at their school, and reduce the risk of accidents.

The EMSB has successfully completed the construction of a new gymnasium at General Vanier Elementary School, which opened in August 2000. A request for this project was made as part of a previous three-year plan. Furthermore, the EMSB plans to make subsequent presentations regarding increased space requirements in RDP, St. Leonard and St. Laurent.

Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213