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Century-old Trafalgar School for Girls moving to new home

WATCH: Trafalgar School for Girls, which has been a fixture on Simpson Avenue near Dr. Penfield for more than a century, has been sold for an undisclosed amount. The school plans to move by 2022. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, while the school may be rich in history, the building holds no historical value for the city.

After 132 years, Trafalgar School for Girls will be selling its historic building and moving to a new downtown location by the 2021-2022 School year.

The school board made the announcement to parents in a open letter titled ‘Investing in Trafalgar’s Future,’ on Wednesday.

Trafalgar’s Board of Governors decided to accept development and management company Canderel’s conditional offer of purchase for their Simpson Street property.

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In 2019 the School board received several “solicited proposals,” on the coveted location atop of the Golden Square Mile which borders the city of Westmount.

“This was not an easy decision to make,” Governing Board Chair Alissa Sklar said.

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After months of evaluation and study the board of directors came to the decision saying “the board has determined that the location that we have called home for over 130 years no longer supports our aspirations to pioneer a new era of girls’ education in Montreal.”

School principal Katherine Nikidis says the sale will help modernize the educational experiences at the school, something the long standing building limited.

While the “sizable proceeds,” from the sale of the building have not yet been disclosed, Nikidis said they will be put back into the new school location.

“The proceeds of the sale will also ensure that Trafalgar is able to invest in an inspiring new learning space,” the letter read.

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The board says it is working with Canderel to find a new space for the private all-girls school, near the city’s downtown core.

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Long-time English teacher and parent Annie Brown says while the announcement was a shock at first, she agrees with the school’s decision.

“Education has changed a lot in the past five years, let alone the past 25 years, 100 years, so its time for us to change and move forward,” Brown said.

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While the school is not considered a heritage site, with more than a century of history within its four walls, historians are worried about the sale and how it will affect the area known as the Golden Square Mile.

“What about the character of that place? Is it going to remain? Not just the brick and stone, but the spirit of the building,” Dinu Bumbaru, Heritage Montreal spokesperson said.

While no plans have been disclosed on the future of the school building, Bumbaru would like to see the city take action at reclaiming the historical buildings in the area on the south side of the mountain.

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The School Board says it will continue to operate its regular school curriculum in its current site with plans to move into the new location by the end of the 2021/2022 school year.

The school plans to provide a progress report on the building’s sale and the schools new location by December of this year.