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MONTREAL, OCTOBER 6,  2010 –   The English Montreal School Board (EMSB)  held a highly successful  information meeting October 6 about the possibility of establishing a unique public high school in Côte Saint-Luc.  

It was standing room only at Cöte Saint-Luc City Hall. Mayor Anthony Housefather has made the return of a public high school in his community a major priority. He invited the EMSB to hold the meeting in the Côte Saint-Luc Council Chamber. Opening remarks by EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini, Commissioner Dr, Syd Wise, Mayor Housefather and Bonnie Feigenbaum, a councillor in the Town of Hampstead, which has also endorsed the concept of a new public high school being established at the former Wagar High facility on Parkhaven Avenue. Commissioner Wise chairs the EMSB  Focus Commission, which has been studying new school opening options across the network. Commissioner Joseph Lalla gave a power point presentation of the Wagar building, which presently houses a special needs high school (John Grant), an adult education centre and the book processing centre.  It was renamed the Giovanni Palatucci Facility in 2006 after a righteous gentile who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

Mr. Lalla illustrated why the Palatucci facility and the surrounding area is perfect for a sports concentration program, one of the objectives for a new high school. Heritage languages and fine arts programs are also being considered. But Dr. Wise, a former Wagar facility, made it clear that it will be the parents of students interesting in attending this school who will have crucial input. A questionnaire was circulated and has now been posted at and www.cotesaintluc,org  for parents to fill out, stating their programming wishes and whether they would be willing to sit on a committee to come up with a strategic plan.

A lot of time was devoted to a question and answer period. Many parents came forward with suggestions, which were duly noted. Ms. Mancini explained that it is not likely that a new school could be established until the 2012-2013 academic year as the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports (MELS) requires a comprehensive consultation process. Plans call for the EMSB Long Range Planning Committee to make different recommendations to the Council of Commissoners in March. Those that are accepted will go out for consultation, culminating with hearings and a vote in the early winter of 2011-2012.

“We heard the message loud and clear,” said Ms. Mancini. “Parents in the West End want another choice. We encouraged those on hand and others who are interested in the concept to fill out the questionnaire. The more information we have to share with our Long Range Planning Committee, the better.”

The last mainstream public high school in Côte Saint-Luc was Wagar, which closed after the 2004-2005 academic year.

Dr. Wise points out that the former Wagar facility is modern and spacious, featuring a double gymnasium, an auditorium, library, science labs, two large fields and tennis courts. Across the street is the Côte Saint-Luc outdoor pool and an indoor gymnasium. Construction will start soon on an $18 million multi-purpose centre attached to the gym which will contain two indoor pools, one for competitive swimming. Two blocks away is the Samuel Moskovitch hockey arena and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park, which has three baseball fields and a walking path,

Ms. Mancini noted that parents who have ideas for new concept schools anywhere within the EMSB territory should feel free to share their thoughts. “We did hold a series of hearings on this subject two and a half years ago,” she said. “In the case of Côte Saint-Luc, not only did the mayor make a presentation to us. He also took a lot of initiative since that time in helping to raise interest among his own citizens and those in neighbouring Hampstead. This was therefore a natural place for us to hold such a meeting. I hope there will be others elsewhere.”


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