The Holy Rosary Community School in Regina will be closed until June 2024 due to structural problems
When Regina’s parent Christina LaRose walked into Holy Rosary Community School on her son’s first day, she knew she had found her perfect school.
“I fell in love because I was treated that way and my son was just a smile. The staff there have always made sure that the parents are just as welcome as the children,” LaRose told CBC News via Facebook.
“Since my son started he has learned so much from the teachers who are very hands-on when it comes to teaching our kids. It may be a small school and a small number of kids, but it’s an amazing school with great teachers who are there for the kids.”
LaRose was devastated to learn that the Holy Rosary, located in the neighborhood of Regina Cathedral, had to close until June 2024 due to construction problems. The Regina Catholic School Division (RCSD) informed parents Tuesday night.
Holy Rosary is the longest running Catholic school in Regina. It was opened in 1914 and added to the north side in 1928.
Subsequent expansions would include the current departmental office, where Twylla West, communications and media coordinator for Regina Catholic Schools, works.
West told CBC in an interview Thursday that the school department currently has very little information about next steps.
“What we’ve been told is we can’t throw a dollar amount at it to fix the structural situation that’s going on. The engineer said the original building has reached its useful life. There is no repair. It’s done,” West said.
What we’ve been told is that we can’t throw a dollar amount at it to fix the structural situation that’s going on. The engineer said the original building had reached the end of its useful life. This can’t be repaired. It is finished. – Twylla West. Regina Catholic School Department.
Problems with the building were discussed back in 2021, but the board of trustees finally decided in December this year to keep the school open and make some modernizations.
But in a letter to the Saskatchewan Department of Education Tuesday, the RCSD said the school’s structure had been compromised.
“Structural concerns have arisen over the past six months regarding the original sections constructed in 1914 and 1928,” wrote Doug Sears, director of facilities and housing services at the RCSD. “The foundation of this building is in serious jeopardy despite the ongoing structural rehabilitation work. This school has an inevitable end date.”
West said the news devastated the board of trustees, but the move was necessary.
“Safety is our top priority. When civil engineers say that this is a big problem, we have to listen.”
Currently, approximately 130 students from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade are enrolled at Holy Rosary. The RCSD will attempt to transfer her to the Sacred Heart Community School, which is nearby and has the appropriate capacity.
A special place
LaRose said she doesn’t know what to think now. She and her son will miss school very much.
“If they forget lunch or their parents can’t afford to send lunch, the school has lunch for them. They lose gloves or need shoes or jackets… anything… the school is helping with that,” LaRose said.
“No school goes that far beyond that. But they do. So the loss of Holy Rosary will be a great loss to our community.”
West acknowledged that the school is very special not only for the students and parents, but also for the Division staff.
“My son also went to school for a while. So yes, there is an emotional bond. There are always. It’s kind of almost our flagship school as it’s right next to the cathedral,” West said. “I love walking next door and seeing these students.”
She said the Catholic school department had applied to the Ministry of Education for a reconstruction of the Holy Rosary. But if it gets the money, it expects it will take more than three years to rebuild.
Meanwhile, West said she understands why the cathedral community might be upset about the closure, but there are currently no plans for a general public meeting on the matter. On Thursday evening, however, there will be a parents’ meeting at the school.
“We’re talking about the head and the heart. The head is the building and the structure and the enrollment numbers and stuff like that,” West said.
“But the heart… that’s what makes a school a great place. There’s a headache, but the heart…the heart hurts a little right now.”