OTTAWA -- Ottawa's public school board is looking to send Grade 7 and 8 students at Vimy Ridge Public School in Findlay Creek to another school 10 kilometres away due to overcrowding at the four-year-old school.

Vimy Ridge Public School on Kelly Farm Drive opened in 2017 with a capacity of 674 pupil spaces. As of Oct. 29, 1,081 students were enrolled at the school, with 17 portables set up to accommodate students.

A report for the Ottawa Carleton District Board's meeting on Dec. 7 outlines a plan to alleviate enrolment pressures at Vimy Ridge Public School by redirecting Grade 7 and 8 students to Steve MacLean Public School until a new school is built in the area.

There are currently 5,185 homes built in Findlay Creek.

"During 2020, a near decade high number of homes were built (680) likely accelerating enrolment growth and accommodation pressures at Vimy Ridge Public School," says the report for the board.

The public board originally identified the need for two elementary schools as part of the city of Ottawa's community development plan. The school offers Kindergarten to Grade 8 English with Core French and Early French Immersion Program.

"With ongoing growth in the community over the next few years, enrolment growth is no longer sustainable at the school," said the OCDSB.

Enrolment is projected to increase to 1,219 students for the 2022-23 school year, and 1,370 students in 2023-24, "resulting in the need for 24 and 28 portables for instruction respectively."

Staff have developed a plan to address the enrolment pressures at Vimy Ridge Public School, by redirecting the Grade 7 and 8 attendance boundary to Steve MacLean Public School on Spratt Road in Riverside South.

Under the proposed plan, Grade 7 students would be redirected to Steve MacLean Public School in September 2022, and Grade 8 students redirected in 2023.

  • For 2022-2023, the grade structure at Vimy Ridge Public School would be revised to Kindergarten to Grade 6 and Grade 8.
  • Current (2021-2022) Grade 7 Vimy Ridge Public School students would remain at Vimy Ridge Public School to complete Grade 8.
  • For 2023-2024, the grade structure at Vimy Ridge Public School be revised to Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Shifting Grade 7 and 8 students to Steve MacLean Public School would reduce enrolment at Vimy Ridge Public School by 100 students a year, while increasing enrolment at Steve MacLean PS to 961 students in the first year and 1,046 students in the second year.

Nine portables would need to be built at Steve MacLean Public School in the first year, with 12 portables in year two.

"Ultimately, the alleviation of enrolment pressures in this part of the District would be realized with either the opening of a second elementary school in the Findlay Creek community (as yet unfunded) and/or with the opening of a new Riverside South secondary school (Gr 7-12) which is now scheduled for a September 2024 opening," says the OCDSB staff report. "The attendance boundaries, program offerings and opening grade structures for these new schools would be subject to a broader public consultation process."

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board submitted a capital priority funding business case to the Ministry of Education in May for funding for a new school in Findlay Creek with spaces for 674 pupils. The board has acquired a site on Kelly Farm Drive for the new school, down the street from Vimy Ridge Public School.

The OCDSB will form an advisory group in December, and host public consultations on moving Grade 7 and 8 students from Vimy Ridge Public School in February. A final decision on the interim accommodation measures will made by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board in February.