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MONTREAL, MAY 24, 2005- On behalf of the Minister of Education, Sports and Recreation, Mr. Jean-Marc Fournier, the Member of the Quebec National Assembly for LaFontaine, Tony Tomassi, formally announced today that funding has been approved for the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) to obtain ownership of the East Hill Elementary School facility in Rivière-des-Prairies. Furthermore, the government will finance the construction of two badly needed new classrooms. A total of $3.5 million has been allocated for these expenditures.

The EMSB has received the necessary funding to purchase the building from the Bank of Montreal and proceed with plans for the construction of the new classrooms. East Hill presently has an enrolment of 563 students in a facility designed to house 510. In order to deal with the shortage in space, one satellite kindergarten class is now based at nearby Michelangelo School.

East Hill was originally built by a private contractor in 1997 when the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal (PSGBM) needed to address the English population growth in Rivière-des-Prairies. East Hill replaced a school then known as the Nesbitt Annex and quickly filled to capacity. The PSBGM signed a longterm lease with the contractor, which was inherited by the EMSB upon its formation on July 1, 1998. Efforts began at that point to persuade the Ministry of Education to purchase the building for the EMSB in order to recognize the legitimate needs for student places. However, the situation became more complicated when the contractor ran into financial difficulties and ownership shifted to the Bank of Montreal.

By gaining ownership of the building, the EMSB will save $400,000 in annual rental fees.

EMSB Chairman Dominic Spiridigliozzi expects the tendering process to get underway soon, with the objective of having the new classrooms completed by September 2006.

Mr. Spiridigliozzi expressed his gratitude to Mr. Tomassi, the EMSB administration and the entire East Hill community for their tireless efforts on this file.

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