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Upwards of $6 million for new school in Rockwood

The public school board hopes to build a new school on the outskirts of Rockwood by the fall of 2014 now that the province has approved more than $6 million for its construction.
The new school will be built on a site the school board has bought at the end of MacLellan Street, just over the Rockwood boundary in Guelph-Eramosa township. Rockwood houses are being built right up to the boundary there, board communications officer Maggie McFadzen said Wednesday.
The new school will relieve enrolment pressure on Rockwood Centennial, which is currently Rockwood’s only public school.
The board says its target budget for the new school is about $6.1 million.
On Tuesday, a board committee approved using the same architect and same basic design for the new Rockwood school that it’s using for a new school to be built in Orangeville.
Local MPP Liz Sandals was at Tuesday’s committee meeting to announce provincial approval of the funding for the new Rockwood school.
In all, the province has committed $32 million for four new Upper Grand schools, a news release said.
The other two are in Guelph – an $8.65-million school to be built on Zaduk Place in the south end and a $9.5-million school to be built on Lee Street in the east end.
“I’m pleased that the students in Guelph and neighboring communities will benefit from our investments to provide better school buildings,” Sandals said in the release. “We know that when students are in good learning environments, they can focus on their learning.”
The new Rockwood school will have space for 308 students, with 10 general classrooms and three kindergarten classrooms.
The process of building it is being compressed so it will be ready for occupancy “as close to September 2014 as possible,” said a report by board staff.
Full-day kindergarten is to be fully phased in by September 2014 across the school board, and this is placing “significant pressure” on the board to find enough space for all the new full-time junior and senior kindergarten students, the report says.
Last July, the Upper Grand District School Board confirmed a plan to start a French immersion program in Rockwood in 2014. However, this will depend on enough parents living in Rockwood, Eden Mills and other places east of Jones Baseline signing their children up in October of 2013.
It’s not yet known if the new elementary school in Rockwood will include French immersion, or whether the school will go up to Grade 6 or Grade 8.

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