The Quebec government has announced it is investing more than $437 million in the Montreal region to build, renovate and expand schools.
As part of the plan, the government will also renovate and construct two new French elementary schools in downtown Montreal.
An elementary school will be built on a vacant lot on St-Mathieu Street in downtown Montreal and it will include four pre-school classes and 24 elementary school classes.
Académie Bourget on de la Montagne Street will also be renovated to serve as an elementary school. It will have two pre-school classes, 12 elementary classes and a gymnasium.
The province says the schools will house up to 1,000 students.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante hopes the new schools will encourage families to stay downtown.
“The program to support families to stay in Montreal starts today,” Plante said. “Combined with that, parents want schools for their kids.”
The new schools will also ease severe overcrowding in Saint-Léon-de-Westmount elementary school.
For years, the school on Clarke Avenue has been running at overcapacity. It has had to close its library and music rooms and turn them into classrooms.
The situation got to the point where the school had to open an annex in St-Henri, where 200 students currently go.
“I know the parents here hope the annex will go as fast as it can,” said principal Tania Genzardi.
“It’s not in the neighbourhood. They want the school in the neighbourhood. That is something very important and I understand that too.”
St-Leon has around 300 children not from its area attending the school.
Westmount Mayor Christina Smith says new schools downtown is long overdue.
“I think it will reassure parents,” she said.
“There will be less pressure on the school, less traffic.”
It’s expected it will take from three to five years to get the new schools built and open.
—with files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise
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