School board to seek public input on boundaries for new schools

FERGUS – The new Centre Wellington Elementary School in the Storybrook subdivision in northwest Fergus is set to open in September 2025 and have space for 308 pupils in junior kindergarten through Grade 8. 

And in Guelph, a high school with space for 900 students is set to open the following September, at the Arkell and Victoria Road intersection in the south end. 

But where exactly those 1,200 students will be coming from is yet to be determined. 

The board will conduct boundary reviews and consider public input to determine from which areas students will be assigned to the schools. 

The schools are meant to accommodate forecasted growth and alleviate pressures from area schools, particularly Salem and Elora Public Schools in Centre Wellington and the existing high schools in Guelph.  

About 1,500 housing units are coming to the Storybrook subdivision, in addition to more homes in several other large subdivisions underway in Centre Wellington. 

Currently, students living in the Storybrook subdivision fall within the catchment area for Salem Public School for junior kindergarten to Grade 3 and Elora Public School for Grades 4 through 8. 

“Both schools are experiencing enrolment pressure due to the holding of students” from the Storybrook subdivision, states a report prepared by Upper Grand District School Board chief financial officer Glen Regier and manager of planning Ruchika Angrish. 

And in Guelph, “due to the substantial residential development happening within and planned for the [city], Centennial, John F. Ross and Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institutes are all currently over capacity with enrolment pressure projected to continue to increase. 

“The boundary review process will consider the current attendance areas of the existing schools” to determine the new schools’ catchment area, altered boundaries for existing schools, and the program and number of grades starting at the new schools. 

In Guelph, the school will ultimately offer Grades 9 through 12, but the public review process will determine whether the school initially opens with all four grades in September 2026.  

The board plans to host  public information sessions on each boundary review this autumn, and will create a webpage dedicated to the school’s boundary review that will include details on the process, reports and communication methods. 

The board is also set to create surveys to collect input.

“Stakeholder engagement is an important component of the boundary review process,” the report states. 

Stakeholders are “all school communities including parents, staff and students, the board’s community and municipal partners, and the boards advisory committees including parent involvement committee special education committee, and student senate.

“The purpose of engagement is to build awareness about the need for the new school and gather input on proposed changes to school boundaries.”

The board is expected to make a final decision about the schools’ boundaries in February. 

An adjusted budget for the Centre Wellington elementary school is pending ministry approval for construction to proceed.