Board votes to close SCITS in 2017

Students from St. Clair will spend year at SCITS while renovations take place

SCITS has one year left in its storied history before it closes for good.

The decision to back a staff proposal came in the form of a 9-2 vote by trustees with the Lambton Kent District School Board on Tuesday.

Beginning this fall, students from both St. Clair Secondary School and SCITS will share the SCITS facility as renovations take place at St. Clair.

The following school year will see that throng of students based at St. Clair, which will be reborn under a new name. A committee is being formed to recommend a choice to trustees this October.

Boundaries were also reset by trustees, with Highway 402 now being the dividing line for “north/south.” Students in grades 8-12 who would be affected by those changes will be “grandfathered” in the new system.

The decision to amalgamate has not been without controversy, beginning last fall when the idea of closing SCITS was first broached.

A “Save SCITS” group was formed and earlier this year the City of Sarnia did its own “community impact” study that recommended St. Clair, not SCITS, be closed as the least disruptive to the overall community.

Officials have said students would be better served from a programming standpoint.

They have also said that the consolidation to St. Clair will save $1.1 million annually. Capital cost estimates, which have been challenged by critics, are said to be $36 million for SCITS, twice as much as would cost for renovations to St. Clair.

LKDSB Education Director Jim Costello said he asked for verification of the estimates before Tuesday’s vote and received assurance from various consultants on the veracity of the numbers.

One of the members of the Save SCITS Group, Jennifer George, has said members will do what they can to help with the consolidated school.

“We .. . .felt that what was best for them was at SCITS because of all the amenities,” said George.

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