The final decision rests with the Near North District School Board, but if trustees follow past results, the board will accept the latest ARC recommendations and close Chippewa Secondary School. The displaced students would be relocated to West Ferris Secondary School and Widdifield Secondary School. That`s the recommendation from the Accommodations Review Committee after months of meetings and analysis as it looks to consolidating North Bay`s three high schools.
In passing the recommendation, ARC facilitator Paul Addie says the ARC is leaving it up to trustees to decide whether to have the two remaining high schools renovated or get money from the Ministry of Education and build new schools at both sites. Regardless of what option the board pursues, both schools will be re-named. In addition, the French Immersion and International Baccalaureate programs would relocate to West Ferris.
In arriving at its decision, Addie said the ARC members considered how parents affected by consolidating the three high schools felt. Addie said the public made it very clear it opposed one super high school, so that option basically came off the table. The ARC members met with parents who also made it clear they did not want to lose West Ferris. The members also heard about many traffic concerns parents had about relocating students to Chippewa Secondary School. On Widdifield, Addie said relatively, it`s a newer school and can accommodate more space. The strikes began piling up against Chippewa which eventually was the school ARC members chose to close by recommending the continuance of West Ferris and Widdifield. The ARC also recommended closing E.T. Carmichael, E.W. Norman and W.J. Fricker. All the students would relocate to a new building on the Fricker site and this new school would also have a new name. Trustees will vote on the ARC`s recommendations at its June 27th regular board meeting. However before then, the board will hold a special meeting June 12th at West Ferris Secondary School where the public can comment on the ARC`s recommendations. The ARC will formally hand over its recommendations to the board May23rd. The ARC members recognized that some students may have a hard time with the closure of their school assuming the board adopts the recommendations. To that end it`s also recommending that during the transition period, counselling is provided to students who are having difficulty coping with the change.