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Catholic Board Studying Future Needs of Former School

By Randy Thoms Oct 31, 2022 | 2:54 PM

Former St. Francis School in Fort Frances. Image: Randy Thoms

The Northwest Catholic District Schools is looking at the future of the former St. Francis School in Fort Frances.

St. Francis School was closed as a school following the opening of the new St. Mary School in 2022.

While students were moved over from St. Francis and St. Michael’s Schools, the board did not declare St. Francis surplus.

St. Michael’s was sold to the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board.

Superintendent of Business Laura Mills says some classrooms have been used since then.

Some students were in St. Francis last year until new portable classrooms arrived.

Seven Generations Education Institute also leased other classrooms. That lease will expire at the end of March 2023.

“This current school year, we have two classrooms that are currently being used by our IT department as there’s no room in our Fort Frances board office. There are classrooms being used for storage of surplus furniture and equipment,” says Mills.

There are no students, but Mills says they could be moved from St. Mary when a planned expansion of that school takes place.

Mills says they are also looking at using some classrooms when an expansion of St. Mary School takes place.

The Ministry of Education’s policy calls for a school board to take steps to dispose of surplus facilities within two years of opening a new one.

Mills notes that policy was not in place when the board received approval to bring its two Fort Frances schools under one roof.

“However, it would be prudent if we start to look at actually doing something to comply with the Ministry’s policy. I don’t think we necessarily need to, as they say, dispose of the facilities, but we do need to determine whether it’s surplus to our needs and put some type of action plan in place.”

No decision has yet been made.

Mills says a report on possible directions would be coming to the board at a later date.



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