Catholic School Board Gets Approval For Sports Dome In Leamington

Cardinal Carter Middle and Secondary School in Leamington will soon have a new sports complex.

The Catholic school board has cleared the final hurdle with approval from the town to go ahead with the project on the site of the former Queen of Peace Catholic Elementary School.

The 54,000-square-foot sports dome will be large enough to accommodate two soccer fields and will be used for a variety of other sports as well.

Director of Education Terry Lyons says the sports academy offered at Central Park Athletics in Windsor has been a big success and the board is hoping to bring that same success to the county.

"It's a huge step for us and an opportunity to work together with the community of Leamington and the Town of Leamington. We're looking to create a sports academy very similar to what we have in Windsor and it's going to operate and we'll have classrooms there as well. So it'll be very similar to what we have at Central Park Athletics."

He says this will build on the soccer, baseball, hockey and dance programs already offered at Cardinal Carter.

"We have Cardinal Carter Middle School and then we have the secondary school. So this will pull our students from Grade 7 to 12. We'll have this open as an option to any students that want to attend in that area. It's an equity of access issue for us and it's creating an opportunity for kids who live in the county. They'll be able to access the same kind of activities that we offer in the city."

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Artist rendering of a new sports dome get to go up on the site of the former Queen of Peace Catholic Elementary School in Leamington (Photo courtesy of the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board)

Lyons says years ago a school board would never build a sports dome, but times have changed.

"Education today looks a lot different and you're always looking for different pathways to create for students and this is creating pathways for students. Our academies aren't only sports specific, but this one will be starting as sports specific. So right now we're looking to offer that out in the county and it will attract students from all over the place I would imagine."

The new dome will be connected to the former Queen of Peace building to allow of classroom and washroom use as well.

The project cost is not yet known as the plan still has to go out to tender.

Lyons says the goal is to have shovels in the ground this summer with the dome ready for students by early 2019.