The oldest school in the Simcoe County District School Board is finally going to be replaced.
Ontario's Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, announced on Monday that Banting Memorial High School in Alliston will be receiving funding from the province to the tune of $41.4 million for a replacement school to be built. The minister also announced $1.1 million in funding to build a child-care centre addition at Tecumseth Beeton Elementary School, which will add 39 child-care spaces.
“I was so overwhelmed with emotion when I first heard this news,” said New Tecumseth trustee Sarah Beitz. “We are truly overjoyed and are grateful to receive over $40 million to replace our beloved Banting. Thank you.”
Set to open in 2024, the Banting replacement school will include 49 new child-care spaces. The location of the new school has not yet been decided.
“It took a great deal of strong, relentless advocacy from families, trustees, mayors and the community to make sure the government understood what critical need there is here for schools,” said Lecce. “The government must invest in rural parts of this province.”
The oldest secondary school board-wide, Banting Memorial High School opened in 1949.
“This will ensure Alliston families have access to a modern school that is safe and isn’t overly occupied,” he said.
Today’s announcement is part of a provincial investment of more than $600 million for new schools and child-care spaces, going toward 78 related projects.
“This is incredibly exciting news for the communities of Alliston, Beeton and Tottenham,” said Simcoe County District School Board chair Jodi Lloyd. “The Banting replacement has been a priority for our board for several years. We are very pleased to receive these funding announcements today.”
New Tecumseth Mayor Rick Milne said today’s announcement was an investment in the community and the future of students.
“Town-building is a team effort that requires focus, discipline, hard work as well as the co-operation from all levels of government,” said Milne. “Investments such as this, play an important role in the quality of life for our residents.”
When contacted for comment, Independent MPP Jim Wilson noted his personal connection to the school.
“This announcement goes a long way towards shortening my to-do list. Much of the credit and thanks for the new high school belongs to SCDSB trustee Sarah Beitz who never gave up on the dream for a new modern facility. Thanks must also go to the many people who signed petitions and wrote letters of support over the past decade,” he said.
I have fond memories of my years at Banting,” said Wilson. “My first political office was when I was elected Prime Minister of the school's model parliament and I went on to serve two years as student council president."
The capital projects approved on April 28, 2021 by the public board for the next three-year cycle, ranked, are as follows:
- Banting Memorial High School (Replacement school)
- Killarney Beach Public School (Addition)
- New Angus elementary school (Growth accommodation)
- New Alcona elementary school (Growth accommodation)
- New Alliston elementary school (Growth accommodation)
- New Barrie Southwest elementary school (Growth accommodation)
- New Barrie Southeast elementary school (Growth accommodation)
- New Bradford secondary school (Growth accommodation)
- New Orillia elementary school (Growth accommodation)
- Northwest Simcoe secondary schools (Growth accommodation)
In December, the province announced it would be funding No. 9 on the list – a new elementary school in Orillia – set to open in September 2024. The school would include 334 student spaces. The province is putting $9 million toward that project.