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Saint John church says elementary school's future is unclear

The Parish of Our Lady of Assumption in Saint John says it is too soon to know what will happen to St. Patrick’s Elementary School, which was closed this week because of structural issue

St. Patrick’s Elementary School will be closed next year because of structural concerns

The Parish of Our Lady of Assumption in Saint John says it is too soon to know what will happen to St. Patrick’s Elementary School, which was closed this week because of structural issues.

The parish owns the 90-year-old building, which is located in west Saint John and leases it to the Department of Education.

St. Patrick's will be closed to students, for at least this year.

Monsignor Brian Sheehan said engineers will prepare a detailed report with estimates of repair costs.

He said a number of parish committees will then meet to discuss the report and decide whether there's money to fix the school at a time when many churches in the diocese need repairs.

“All of these people will have to be involved and sounding out parishioners and how much our parish church is our priority. And that's what we'll be looking at,” Sheehan said.

There is no word yet as to where the kindergarten to Grade 5 students will be relocated for the coming school year.

District officials will be visiting west side schools to try to find classroom space.

Saint John Harbour Progressive Conservative MLA Carl Killen said it's also too early to say if the provincial government will be involved in any repairs to the building.

The school’s main building was built in 1924, with the gymnasium being added in 1959 and a new wing in 1964. The school was structurally reviewed in 2011, along with all other schools in the province built prior to 1980.

That review flagged some issues that were noted for follow-up by the school district.

Since that review, the school has been closely monitored and regularly checked to ensure the safety of students and staff. As a result of a review in June, the education department determined the school would not be allowed to re-open in September.

A government engineer says it will take a couple of months to finish an in-depth report on the school and even longer to repair in what he calls an "extensive" construction project.

The boundaries of the school zone are from Market Place to Lancaster Avenue.

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