Martensville Catholic school requests portable classrooms

Less than two years after it opened, the Catholic elementary school in Martensville is already looking to expand.

A request for four relocatable classrooms for Ecole Holy Mary School was approved by the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School (GSCS) division board at a meeting on Monday, November 19.

The request from the school division will now go to the provincial Ministry of Education.

Ecole Holy Mary School opened in the fall of 2017. It is a P3 joint-use school that shares some facilities with Lake Vista Public School. Lake Vista School is operated by the Prairie Spirit School Division.

In September, 2018, Ecole Holy Mary School had an official enrollment of 299 students. That number is expected to increase to 347 next year.

The GSCS is also requesting two additional relocatable classrooms for two other P3 schools: St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic School and St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic School. Additional relocatables are also on the GSCS wish list for traditional schools: Ecole St. Matthew School,  St. Joseph High School, Holy Family Catholic School and Georges Vanier Catholic Fine Arts School.

Ecole Holy Mary School and St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Schools are both currently operating “above capacity,” according to a report submitted to the November 19 GSCS board meeting.

GSCS Education Superintended Francois Rivard said the school division is hoping to have the relocatable classrooms in place by next fall.

“Ecole Holy Mary School is utilizing 100 per cent of the education space in the school,” said Rivard in an interview on Wednesday, November 21. “That’s why the request was put forward to the board for approval.

“Ecole Holy Mary is a dual-stream school, with both French and English language instruction streams, so that means there are smaller class sizes, and that in turn means there is a  higher need for classrooms.

“It’s not appropriate to mix the English and French programs.”

Rivard said the popularity of French immersion programs, combined with the growth of Martensville, are two reasons why the school has reached capacity in such a short time.

“Families are interested in French education, and also Catholic education, for their children,” said Rivard. “French-language instruction programs are increasingly popular.”

Rivard said every year theh GSCS  sees more students enrolled in those programs.

“There is also more diversity,” he added. “In many cases, French is the student’s third or even fourth language. English is often not the first language for these students. We’re also seeing more uptake in Cree language programs. People are looking for more options for their children.”