Widdifield Secondary School slated for closure, 'It angers me'
Just one year after celebrating its 50th anniversary, Widdifield Secondary School in North Bay is closing down.
"After two years of looking at our capital plans, the board of trustees has decided to consolidate three high schools into two in the city of North Bay," explained David Thompson, Near North District School board chair.
The decision was prompted by the declining youth population in the area. There just aren't enough kids to keep three high schools in operation, according to the school board.
"Our numbers indicate by 2021 we'll only have 1,500 high school students. You've also got three aging high schools. Is it worth it to try to fix them or build a brand new one? That's the decision. The trustees decided to go with the two and try to modernize the two older ones for now and see what happens in the next five years," Thompson said.
Widdifield students and faculty will be funneled into the two remaining high schools: Chippewa and West Ferris.
There's been plenty of community reaction to this decision.
"It's not a good thing. It angers me because all of the schools that I went to as a kid are closing and basically that's a part of my history (being) closed down," said Karen Bagley, a former Widdifield student.
"I think we'll be out of the school by the time it's actually closed, so I don't think it's going to affect us much, but I guess it’s sad to see the school close," added James Lafontaine, a current student.
This is the 12th school closing that David Thompson has been involved with in the past 12 years.
So far, there is no official closure date set.
The director of education will be reporting back to the school board on the timing; along with more details about programs and funding, in the near future.