École Saint-Gérard-opens finally its doors

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
Schoolchildren and their teachers have discovered their brand new school Tuesday morning.

“I’m happy, but I especially want to say : finally ! After five years and ten months exactly, we can finally go home in our school. It was time. “Carl Emmanuel Vaillancourt, father of two students at école Saint-Gérard and a member of the school council, was one of the first in the schoolyard for the opening of the new school Tuesday morning.


Music, mascot, balloons and ribbon cutting symbolic ;the atmosphere was festive in the school yard, freshly paved for the arrival of hundreds of students with fever who took possession of their new home school in the Villeray area.


The primary school had been closed in the face of adversity in 2012 a result of mould problems, and the reconstruction has faced many pitfalls. During all these years, the students have been transferred to the Georges-Vanier high school. Barely forty of them, now in the 6th grade, have known the school before its demolition.


“The emotions are upset, I’m between the two, both sad and happy, says Véronique Bélanger, a professor for nine years at the école Saint-Gérard. The majority of children do not know that the other school, they are very hectic, some have the heavy heart. It is a mourning and a renewal at the same time. “




In the corridors, the children twisted neck to see the new gym double. This is one of the strengths of this new school, with the abundance of windows, elevators, multi-purpose rooms and geothermal heating. “We have not been able to make the green roof and the atrium […], but it has managed to integrate creativity with the drawings listed in the exterior windows and do a lot of development in the plans for this to be a school that meets the needs “, explains the president of the Commission scolaire de Montréal, Catherine Harel Bourdon.


She acknowledges that ” it took time “, but says that it will be possible to draw lessons for the future.


“It was the first time that there was demolition and reconstruction because of the air quality and mold, so it took several reports, there have been delays to the funding from the ministry, and for the heritage, too, so there were a lot of steps, but it has enabled us to be aware of these hazards and be able to prevent and attempt to reduce the preparation time for the other schools. “




Some 430 students are currently enrolled in the school, which has a capacity of 625 students. Already, consultations are underway for the new school welcomes students of école Christ-Roy, and new reception classes and francization.


As to the Georges-Vanier high school, the places left vacant by the departure of students of Saint-Gérard should be again occupied by the students of the Academy Roberval as soon as next January. “These are communicating vessels between the schools and the neighborhoods,” says Harel Bourdon.

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