The new Gregory A. Hogan Catholic School on The Rapids Parkway (Photo courtesy of SCCDSB via Action News Updates video)The new Gregory A. Hogan Catholic School on The Rapids Parkway (Photo courtesy of SCCDSB via Action News Updates video)

Excitement builds for opening of new Sarnia Catholic school

Sarnia's brand new Gregory A. Hogan elementary school is finally set to open its doors.

The facility, on the Rapids Parkway, will be turned over to the St. Clair Catholic District School Board (SCCDSB) next week and staff will set up furniture, equipment and technology.

Education Director Scott Johnson said students move into the building on March 18, following March Break.

He said the school has been eight years in the making, including nearly two years of construction.

"We have had students, staff, trustees, engineers and architects provide voice," said Johnson. "What the staff and the school community will see is a state-of-the-art, bright, collaborative 21st century learning space."

Johnson said it will be a great, modern learning environment.

"Bright and flexible, too," he said. "Even the furniture inside will allow students to move from individuals to pairings and larger groups. The learning commons is bright and allows furniture and digital technology to be leveraged quite freely throughout the environment. We've had a large number of students learning out of portapacks for quite some time at the current Gregory Hogan. They'll walk into a much brighter space and have a huge yard to enjoy the outdoors. There's also a beautiful new Phys Ed room with double courts that will make a great state of the art athletic room for the community."

In the latest edition of the Board's "Action News Updates", Principal Derek Morrison said he's excited to finally move into the new school.

"It's incredible to see the rate of growth here," said Morrison. "I'm just absolutely overwhelmed, impressed and blown away. I've said it to the kids, and I've said it to the parents, regardless of what they're imagining this to be in their minds, it will exceed their wildest expectations of the place."

Superintendent of Education Michelle Sawa was also thrilled to see the progress made.

"Wow, what a gift," said Sawa. "I just couldn't believe it when I walked in today. It's my first time here and it's just a gift for the students and the board. I was shown the teachers' closet and it's just remarkable the details that have been thought about. I do wish I was back in the classroom today."

The facility was built for just over $24 million, includes 659-pupil places, and was fully paid for by the Ontario Education Ministry.

Funding was also secured for a $3 million dollar five-room childcare centre. The licensing process for the childcare will begin at the end of March with an opening date to be announced by London Bridge Child Care at a later date.

The board received approval from the Ontario Ministry of Education to proceed with construction of the school in March of 2022.

Last October, a ground blessing ceremony was performed by First Nations Elders and Catholic church representatives at the site.

The board had hoped to secure possession of the school last December, but that was pushed back due to delays in getting some essential building materials.

The current Gregory A. Hogan school, on Hogan Drive, will undergo interior renovations beginning this spring. 

The refurbished and upgraded school will reopen as the new Sacred Heart Catholic School in September 2025.

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