Catholic School Division Supports Métis Nation in Purchase of Former Rivier Academy in Pennsylvania

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By Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division welcomed the announcement by the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) of wanting to purchase the former Rivier Academy.

Director of Education Lorel Trumier said in an interview that she hadn’t heard if the city council had approved the sale, but was eagerly waiting to see what the MN-S would do with the sale. property.

“I can’t wait to see what the city has decided and I don’t see them putting obstacles in the way,” Trumier said.

“As a school division, we would like to congratulate the Métis Nation on the acquisition of the facility and look forward to the promise of future partnerships and opportunities to work with them.”

Trumier said the city of Prince Albert informed council of the possible sale in a letter dated April 12, but the letter was not received until April 19. This gave the board little chance to comment, as the submission deadline was also April 19, and the next board meeting was not held until April 25.

However, Trumier said he read the proposal and thought it was a great opportunity for the MN-S. They were also happy with the potential opportunities the deal would bring.

The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan sought to purchase the building from the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary for use as a private school, public assembly, food service, daycare, health clinic and office.

The building housed the Blessed Marie Rivier Catholic School which was closed in 2017 due to low enrollment, with students transferring to St. Mary’s High School.

In 2018, Saint Joseph Developments presented plans for a development at the resort, which never happened.

In 2019, the Ministry of Education announced the possibility of using it for students of the Conseil des écoles fransaskoises (CÉF). The Société Canadienne-Française de Prince Albert (SCFPA) was worried in 2021 because the plan had not advanced. In 2020, the province announced that it had commissioned a third-party business plan for the concept.

The Fransaskois community of Prince Albert and its partners, including groups of elders, the Parents’ Council and staff of École Valois, members of the Métis community and representatives of French-language school boards, worked on an analysis of profitability relating to the purchase of the former Académie Rivier at the request of the Minister of Education.

The town’s French community has outgrown the Valois school and the old community center. It is insufficient to meet the expectations and needs of parents, students and other French-speaking citizens, including newcomers, in terms of the educational, sporting, economic and cultural potential of the community, said a press release.

The building has been put up for sale by the Sisters.

(Photo courtesy of Royal LePage)

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