Ground broken on new east Hamilton Catholic high school

The educational landscape on the Mountain shifted a little more today with the formal groundbreaking for the new Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School on Rymal Road East.
Student Camilo Sanchez, principal Hermon Mayers, student Agnes Michalowski and Patrick Daly, chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, stand at the new location for Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The educational landscape on the Mountain shifted a little more today with the formal groundbreaking for the new Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School on Rymal Road East.

The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board celebrated the new location of the 1,250-student school with a ceremony in front of the growing Summit Park subdivision in upper Stoney Creek.

The school opened at its most recent location on Albright Road in 1991. But in the past 20 years, the population has shifted enough to warrant relocating it, board chair Patrick Daly said.

Keeping up with the growing population in Stoney Creek and Binbrook has been "a significant challenge," Daly said.

"Fortunately, we recognized a number of years ago that this was the direction the population was moving, and we negotiated for this piece of property and worked with the government on the funding."

The groundbreaking happens on the day the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board will ratify a decision to close three Mountain high schools. It hopes to build a new school southeast of Lincoln Alexander Parkway to reach that growing population.

"Clearly, the shifting demographic has been a real challenge for school boards," Daly said. "It has happened rapidly."

The new $36-million building is provincially funded. At 190,000 square feet, it will house 65 classrooms, a 600-seat theatre auditorium and three gymnasiums.

Outdoors, it will have an eight-lane running track, terrace seating for 1,000 and a parking lot for 330 cars.

This is the third move for Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary. It was built on Queenston Road in 1958.

With the move, enrolment at the school could swell to 2,000 students, said principal Hermon Mayers.

"We have eight feeder schools, and five of our feeder schools are in this booming area of Binbrook/upper Stoney Creek," he said. "Most of the families attending our school now are actually not far from here."

The 73-hectare site is at Rymal Road and Dakota Boulevard. The school is designed by Svedas Architects Inc. and is being built by Tambro Construction. It will open in fall 2013.