Catholic board says old Windsor Arena no longer preferred site for new school
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board has a preferred site for a new Catholic Central High School – and it’s not the old Windsor Arena.
Mayor Drew Dilkens announced on Friday that the city is putting a ‘For Sale’ sign on the 95-year-old building after a deal with the school board ended.
The board’s agreement with the city was announced in 2016, and it received $26-million in provincial funding for the new school build.
But Director of Education Terry Lyons tells CTV News the arena property is no longer their preferred site.
Lyons says the site is too small to build a new high school and parking would be an issue. He adds building on the designated heritage site has already posed several challenges and major delays.
"We didn't want to go into a new site having some of the same challenges the students have put up with over the years,” says Lyons, referring to the current 80-year-old high school.
"The school is pretty run down,” adds Ethan Ellwood, a Grade 9 student at Catholic Central.
Ellwood hopes by the time he graduates, he will be in a class inside a brand new school.
Lyons adds the school board does have a new preferred location for a new high school, but he would not say where it is.
Lyons adds they have approached the Ministry of Education with a new proposal, asking for additional funding for the new location.
There is no value for the current Windsor Arena property, and the city will begin to take offers on Monday.
"Windsor arena I would describe it as the perfect bomb shelter,” says Mayor Drew Dilkens. “It's steel and concrete they only built in the 1920s."
Dilkens adds the city would be open to all proposals, even a partnership.
Built in 1924, the Windsor Arena was originally called the Border Cities Arena.
Many have referred to it as “the Barn", “the Madhouse on McDougall and “the Grand Old Lady.”
It’s been home to the Windsor Spitfires and Windsor Lancers – but also the Detroit Cougars and even the Detroit Red Wings for one season.
Since it closed in 2014, the city has been using it as an indoor storage facility for salt.