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French board rescues plans to make old Grant school a community centre

Ottawa Citizen
September 17, 2017

A non-profit group struggling to transform an old school on Richmond Road into a community centre for francophones has a new plan to complete the project after years of delays, rising costs and fund-raising troubles.

The city and provincial governments have spent $6.196 million on the project since Grant School was closed a decade ago, but today the stately brick heritage building is boarded up, with renovations halted more than a year ago after the non-profit group ran out of money.

Now the group says it has a way to rescue its Maison de la francophonie d’Ottawa project: the French public school board has joined as a partner. The board has agreed to take ownership of the property, finish the renovations and build a new gym/community room with a kitchen in return for using some of the space.

If it works out, the French school board will get a new adult high school and the francophone community will have its long-awaited community centre.

The plan, however, will require $9 million more in government funds, the partners say. The school board has requested that amount from the province for construction costs, said Linda Savard, president of the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario.

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