New name for PCHS: Pierrefonds Community High School

The Lester B. Pearson School Board has made some decisions about the merger of two West Island schools, Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School and Riverdale High School - starting with a new name.  

As of July First, it will be the Pierrefonds Community High School.

The merger became necessary when the Education Ministry unexpectedly announced earlier this year that it would be handing the Riverdale building to the French sector, which is dealing with overcrowding. 

Lester B. Pearson School Board assistant director-general Tom Rhymes says the merged school will be led by an interim principal: Cindy Wallach, who has been in and out of PCHS on special assignments over the past few years.

The current principal of PCHS is being promoted to a board position, and the principal of Riverdale is being reassigned to Beaconsfield High.  

Unusually, the new PCHS will have four vice-principals: the current teams from each school. 

"Which is, I guess I can use the word, overstaff," says Rhymes.  "It's a considerable injection of management personnel, but again we're cognizant of the challenges that are ahead." 

Rhymes says the staffing may be modified after the transition year.

The projected enrolment at Pierrefonds Community High School next fall is around 900, up from this year's PCHS enrolment of approximately 550.. 

Rhymes says he is confident the building will be ready to welcome the influx of several hundred students from Riverdale, along with some RHS assets, such as a wood shop and its science, technology and robotics program. 

Rhymes says the new name was pitched by the governing board at Pierrefonds Comprehensive after the initial shock and hurt over the government-forced merger died down.

"Once the communities began to dialogue I think they sort of came to a realization that they needed to look forward and move forward,and that's the outcome that we had, a positive one," he says.  "An acknowledgement that, in essence, what we have now is a single high school in Pierrefonds, we have one community coming together in that high school."

Rhymes himself worked for a number of years at PCHS, and says he is excited at the prospect of bringing the community's students together under one roof.

"The point for me, and I mean it sincerely, having that community together, I think it's going to be interesting and I think it's exciting," he says.