Board’s $930K plan to renovate, expand St. Kateri OK’d by province
Improvements will increase capacity at one of HSCDSB’s experiential learning hubs
Trustees with the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board learned today that the province has approved a plan to spend more than $900,000 on renovation and expansion of the infrastructure at the board’s St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre.
The centre, formerly known as Camp Korah, is in the west end and offers outdoor learning experiences to students from kindergarten to Grade 12.
The investment will allow the centre to accommodate 60 more students than its current capacity of 170, the board says.
Full details are in the following news release:
During the Nov. 15 Board of Trustees meeting, Director of Education, Danny Viotto shared that the provincial government has given its approval to utilize $930,000 to renovate and expand the current infrastructure of one of the board’s innovative experiential learning hubs.
The renovation plans include an additional classroom in the current building, upgrades to the washroom facilities and ventilation system, and conversion to LED lighting throughout the building. These renovations will allow for the expansion of programming and increase the capacity from 170 students to approximately 230.
The St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre (formerly known as Camp Korah) is located on 180 acres of land in the city’s west end and currently offers a variety of outdoor learning opportunities for kindergarten to Grade 12 students. The learning centre includes several kilometres of hiking and skiing trails, expansive fields used for activities, a beautiful lake, and many acres of untouched land for student discovery.
Currently, the St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre is staffed with teacher, Greg Sicoly, who delivers education programs to a variety of elementary grade level students. Access to the St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre has recently expanded with the introduction of the Choose Your Own St. Kateri Adventure program, developed by HSCDSB’s Curriculum Department. This program allows educators to select lessons from a comprehensive list, and all of the necessary materials are readily available for use.
In addition, St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre plays a crucial role in fostering and strengthening relationships. In September 2022, the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board, in collaboration with Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, and the Métis Nation of Ontario piloted a Grade 6 Outdoor Learning Program.
The program was so successful that this year it has now expanded to include Grade 7 students. A Cultural Resource Worker from Garden River First Nation supports the staff and students to increase their knowledge and understanding of local Indigenous history, culture, perspectives, language and land-based teachings into the program.
High School programming at St. Kateri includes Cooperative Education and the Outdoor Physical Education (S.C.O.P.E.) class where Grade 11 and 12 students earn credits in cooperative education and physical education to name a few. Additionally, students can earn two college credits through the Sault College Dual Credit Programs.
The Outdoor Learning Centre compliments a plethora of additional opportunities for students including St. Mary’s College high school retreats, geography navigation and outdoor survival courses, elementary year-end field trips, hands-on maple syrup-making workshops, and HSCDSB’s elementary school cross-country meet.
“The Ministry of Education is pleased to grant approval to the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board request to use board funds to renovate the St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre in Sault Ste. Marie,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Our government’s commitment to increasing funding, staffing and a back-to-basics focus on reading, writing and math skills will help ensure students graduate with confidence that they can succeed in good-paying careers.”
“St. Kateri has always been a unique and special destination for experiential learning for many years. It is heartwarming to witness our students explore this incredible place. They are always so thrilled to visit and can’t wait to go back. This investment will help us as we continue to expand our outdoor learning programming and improve the beautiful infrastructure of this facility. There are very few places like St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre in Ontario, and we are pleased that the province recognizes our efforts to provide one-of-a-kind experiential learning opportunities for our students,” said Director of Education, Danny Viotto.
“St. Kateri isn’t just an Outdoor Learning Centre; it’s a hub for community events, building relationships and partnerships, and a beautiful space for the Sault Ste. Marie community to enjoy and explore. This investment signifies a new chapter for St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre and helps us develop this experiential learning hub. We are excited to see what the future holds for St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre,” said Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Gary Trembinski.
Here is a breakdown of the funds to be used for this investment:
- $790,000 from the board’s Proceeds of Disposition
- $70,000 to be accessed from the board’s Accumulated Surplus
- $70,000 from the 2023-24 School Renewal Allocation