“I am very happy to be able to bring some good news to all of you regarding the school,” said Lorenzo Berardinetti, the local MPP, in announcing $30 million to fund the construction of a new “state-of-the-art school” atop the Scarborough Bluffs.
“The funding will allow Blessed Cardinal Newman to continue serving the community of Scarborough southwest and create benefits for both students and local residents,” said Berardinetti Nov. 9.
The current school building opened in 1963 as part of St. Augustine’s Seminary. Cardinal Newman High School was founded 10 years later.
In 2013 an inspection revealed that 70 per cent of the building required replacement. Areas of particular concern were the roof, boiler and windows.
“I am so grateful to the Ministry of Education for the funding for a replacement school of Blessed Cardinal Newman,” said trustee Nancy Crawford. “We desperately need it. The infrastructure really is crumbling.”
She said the past two winters have been particularly hard on the school’s network of pipes. On more than one occasion pipes have burst causing disruptions during instructional time.
Jessica Scriver, a Grade 12 student, says she loves the Newman community but will be happy to say goodbye to the old bricks and mortar.
“Being in a school that has problems and things like that is not fun,” she said. “When I had exams (in Grade 10) we had to have them pushed back because of flooding and pipes breaking. Things like that, that is not enjoyable.”
Although the state of the building has caused school closures, the construction of the new building, expected to take three to five years, will not.
“The best part of it is that I understand that we will be able to stay put while our new building is being built,” said school principal Joan Tschernow.
The school board is looking at acquiring neighbouring property owned by Scarboro Missions. Fr. John Carten, Scarboro Missions’ treasury general, confirmed that after 97 years, the Brimley and Kingston Road landmark is up for sale.
“Scarboro Missions has an agreement to sell our property to the archdiocese,” he said. “That is going through the process of the required approval. We understand from the archdiocese that their plan is to transfer all or part of the property to the school board.”
With Scarboro Missions moving the new Cardinal Newman will take over as the Catholic presence on the corner.
The education ministry also announced Nov. 9 that two other Toronto Catholic schools — St. Augustine and St. Clement — would be provided with about $6.5 million each to cover the cost of building an addition for full-day kindergarten.