When one door closes, another opens.
In this case, one much larger, and renovated, will welcome students from two long-standing Thorold elementary schools.
Monsignor Clancy Catholic School and St. Charles Catholic Elementary School will officially close at the end of the month. Beginning in September, students from both schools will attend the Monsignor Clancy site under its new name, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Elementary School.
It is a return to roots, said Niagara Catholic District Board of Education, with the school honoring the parish church in the Thorold community.
The amalgamation of the two schools has been in the works for some time. St. Charles principal Chris Zanuttini said it is “absolutely wonderful” to see it come to fruition.
It’s time for the two schools – students in junior kindergarten to Grade 3 attend St. Charles, with students in grades 4 through 8 attending Monsignor Clancy – to come together in one location.
“We’re certainly excited about it,” said Zanuttini, who was named principal for Our Lady of the Holy Rosary earlier this spring. “Looking forward to taking on leadership challenge of doing that, with having two staffs come together, two student bodies, but with the purposes of leading one Catholic school community.”
As part of the goodbye process, Zanuttini said there are a number of transition activities underway. The first of its two school closing masses was held Wednesday, led by students from both schools.
After, students from Monsignor Clancy and St. Charles walked to the new building together.
“We’re actually going to take some of the original documents from St. Charles Catholic here and have those processed over with us, ”said Zanuttini. “We’re going to symbolically hang those on the walls at the current Monsignor Clancy.”
The goal of creating a single Catholic elementary school for families in Thorold was years in the making. The Ministry of Education approved the request to begin construction of an addition to Monsignor Clancy in September 2020.
With a renovation budget of $ 6.6 million, Niagara Catholic controller of facilities services Clark Euale said the board added 930 square meters to Monsignor Clancy, increasing its capacity by 104 pupil places (school capacity is now 677 students).
The school itself has also been reconfigured, with the administrative offices, staff room and kindergarten classrooms in the back half of the building. A new chapel and library resource center was built, with the old library split into three classrooms. And the former administrative offices are now a childcare center with outdoor play space.
Although it is opening later than scheduled due to COVID-19 and supply chain challenges, Euale said the school is ready come September.
“(Monsignor Clancy principal Dan Trainor) was very helpful and so were the teachers, as well, at the school. They all wanted the same end game so they all worked together for that, ”said Euale.
From those students who have already visited their new school, Zanuttini said he has only heard good things.
“All of the newness that comes with being in a new school, that has sort of transposed into a great deal of excitement for all of the students that are here today,” he said. “They’re very much looking forward to it and just to get to see their new location, Sept. 6. ”
In a statement, superintendent of education Lee Ann Forsyth-Sells said the new elementary school will “continue to provide excellent programs, supports and services to meet the needs of students and their families in the Thorold community, in partnership with Our Lady of the Holy Rosary parish. “