By Gord Bowes, News staff
The French Catholic school board is looking for a new home for its Mountain high school.
The board was interested in a 10-acre site the Hamilton public school board has declared surplus on Garth Street south of Rymal Road, but did not receive approval from the province to buy the land and construct a new building.
Known as the Carpenter site, it is located next to St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Elementary School on the south side.
The French Catholic board would not confirm it had offered to purchase the Carpenter site.
A Hamilton public board spokesman said an offer by a preferred agency (government agencies have first crack at purchasing surplus property) fell through and the site up for sale again.
“We were looking at it last year,” said Marcel Levesque, the Hamilton trustee on the French Catholic school board.
Rather than build a new home for Academie catholique Mere-Teresa (ACMT), the education ministry wants the board to look at buying old schools to refurbish, said Levesque.
“We are looking for another school because Mere-Teresa is too small for us and we’re the only high school in our board that does not (include Grades) 7 and 8,” he said.
ACMT currently has about 275 students in Grades 9 through 12. Adding Grade 7 and 8 students would put the school population at over 400, said Levesque.
“We looked at Bishop Ryan, but it was way too big for us. Even at half (the size) it would be too big,” he added.
The Bishop Ryan high school property, at 50 Albright Rd. in Stoney Creek, is about 16.5 acres. About 1,300 students attend. The Catholic school board is in talks with the City of Hamilton to sell a portion of that site.
A new Bishop Ryan high school is being built on the south side of Rymal Road at Upper Mount Albion and Dakota. It is expected to open this fall.
Barton and Hill Park public high schools, which are scheduled to close in 2015, also don’t meet the French Catholic board’s requirements, said Levesque.
“They are too big and would cost too much money,” he said.