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BREAKING: New elementary school coming to west Orillia

Province putting $9M toward school, expected to open in 2024; 'The residents of West Ridge will be very grateful for this,' trustee says
2021-12-13 new school announcement
The province announced funding for a new elementary school Monday. Shown during the virtual announcement are, clockwise from top left, John Dance, director of education with the Simcoe County District School Board, Jodi Lloyd, board chair and trustee for Orillia, Ramara and Severn, Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Mayor Steve Clarke.

A new elementary school will be built in west Orillia.

The announcement was made virtually Monday by Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop and Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Set to open in September 2024, the school will include 334 student spaces. The province is putting $9 million toward the project.

Lecce described this as a growing area where families want to live and said this investment will add to that appeal.

He also noted the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for improved safety features.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made safer schools a priority, which is why we continue to invest in modern and accessible learning spaces with improved ventilation,” he said. “This investment is part of our multi-year plan to build, expand and update schools and child-care spaces across our province. It will leave a lasting legacy that benefits working families for years to come.”

Dunlop echoed that.

“We know how important it is that students learn in modern, safe and digitally connected classrooms and child-care spaces,” she said.

This will be the first elementary school built in Orillia since Lions Oval Public School opened in 2010, said John Dance, director of education with the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB).

“It reflects the growth of the city in real terms,” he said.

The community has been wanting a school in that part of town for a number of years, said Jodi Lloyd, SCDSB chair and trustee for Orillia, Ramara and Severn.

“This is certainly wonderful, exciting news for the students and families of Orillia,” she said.

“The residents of West Ridge will be very grateful for this …”

She noted she and Clarke met with Dunlop in January 2020 to advocate for the new school, and she described Monday’s announcement as “a much-welcomed early Christmas present for everyone.”

“This is indeed some good news during the pandemic,” added Mayor Steve Clarke.

“The city is indeed very grateful that the school board and the province recognized the need for this project as we are going through a significant period of growth.”

The school will improve quality of life, Clarke said, and will result in less reliance on transportation for kids in that area who are currently being bused to other schools.

Lecce noted it will also allow for 12 portables at other schools to be closed.

A site for the school has been identified, but it is not being made public yet as the process of acquiring it has yet to be completed.

The $9-million project is part of a provincial investment of more than $600 million for new schools and child-care spaces, going toward 78 related projects.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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