Future of many vacant schools remains unresolved

The Telegram
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The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District has many vacant properties on its books.

I.J. Samson Junior High is among the many facilities which sit vacant across the province.
— Photos by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram

Some 18 properties are vacant as of this date — seven in the Eastern region, four in central region, six in the Western region and one in Labrador.

In the metro region, the dormant schools are I. J. Sampson Junior High  on Bennett Avenue in St. John’s, Macpherson Elementary on Newtown Road in St. John’s and All Saints Primary off Dunns Hill Road in Foxtrap.

And metro will have two more empty schools once the new west end high school is built — Bishop’s College and Booth — once it opens in fall 2015. Empty schools can remain in limbo for years.

According to the school board, the district is bound by the Documentation of Integration and the Schools Act,  as well as agreements with the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The status on each school varies and the district is trying to conclude the disposition of the properties as quickly as possible. Each disposition must be approved by the board of trustees and the minister of Education.

In addition, the provincial government will soon put up for sale two buildings it owns in Pleasantville, but is retaining the former Grace Hospital site for future development.

In St. John’s, the province also owns a four-acre plus property that was the site of the former Nagles Hill School and there are no plans to sell it, according to Transportation and Works. The school has been demolished.

The Pleasantville properties are Building 801 and Building 810.

The Grace Hospital site — located on LeMarchant Road on the edge of downtown — where the now delapidated former nurses residence and a former storage building still stand, has been one of the most speculated sites with possible future uses including a courthouse complex.

Also in the area is a former dermatology clinic located on 249-251 LeMarchant Rd.

Three properties on the former Janeway Hospital site have either been demolished or are in the process of being demolished.




Shuttered schools

The following is a list of shuttered schools in the province and when they closed:


I.J. Sampson, June 2011.

Macpherson, June 2011.

All Saints, June 1999.

Harbour Grace Primary, June 2013.

Davis Elementary, June 2013.

Clarenville Primary, June 2011.

Epiphany Elementary, June 2013.

Central: Former Grand Falls Academy (Maple Street), March 2008.

Baie Verte Middle, June 2005.

Baie Verte High, June 2011.

Baie Verte Primary, June 2011.



St. Theresa’s, June 2010.

Roncalli, June 2010.

Our Lady of Labrador, June 2010.

Bayview High (Griquet), June 2013.

Harroit Curtis Collegiate, November 2013.

St. Anthony Elementary, November 2013.



Robert Leckie, June 1998.

Organizations: Grace Hospital, Episcopal, Nagles Hill School Janeway Hospital Grand Falls Academy

Geographic location: Eastern, Western, Labrador.In Bennett Avenue Newtown Road Pleasantville Dunns Hill Road Foxtrap.And Bishop Baie Verte LeMarchant Road All Saints Clarenville Labrador St. Anthony

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Recent comments

  • my childhood school
    July 11, 2014 - 15:07

    You left out Our Saviour King Academy that closed in 2001 or 2002 I believe. It was in southern hr.

  • Barb
    March 18, 2014 - 14:05

    @ Gekko, Sorry don't agree with you, Going with Mr Murphy on this one. future for our young.

  • Gekko
    March 18, 2014 - 12:20

    The reason these buildings lay dormant is because they are extremely old and full of asbestos. They are not fit to be converted to apartments, and the cost of properly demolishing them would be ridiculously high, thus they remain vacant.

  • Charles Murphy
    March 18, 2014 - 11:00

    Here a funny thought, Lets say some of those building are single story. Why don't we take them and turn them into manufacturing plant's. After all we are shipping in over 800 million of dollars of products per year. While at the same time, creating jobs to keep our people home. YES! I do believe Government should be their to support all adventure for our people.

  • JD
    March 18, 2014 - 09:59

    I live near the All Saints school in Foxtrap and for a number of years the building has been used by some computer company or something (at least partially). The buildings still have merit. I think its time that that the school board team up with some developers and come up with a way to turn those places into Condos or business space that can be sold or leased to generate revenue for the school board to build better new schools and infrastructure.

  • Fix them
    March 18, 2014 - 08:43

    If the structure is good, fix them. A classroom would be a good size for a small apartment. However don't get the big companies to do them. Average people wouldn't be able to afford them.

  • JP Walsh
    March 18, 2014 - 08:39

    The Grace hospital site could be a combined courthouse and replacement for the pen. One stop justice shopping!!

  • Jonell
    March 18, 2014 - 08:32

    From what I keep hearing there is a lack of apartments in St. John's. Why not put these closed schools to good use by making them into apartments? Done in many areas of the United States. At least they wouldn't be sitting vacant.

  • Calvin
    March 18, 2014 - 07:52

    I keep hearing a lot about the number of homeless people in the St. John's area. Not homeless as in "oh they sleep in the gutter 6 nights a week", but people who travel from couch to couch of friends and family because they don't have a place to live. I know people who have spent time sleeping in their car this winter due to an inability to find a place to stay. Why not open up some of these buildings for people to use? No doubt legal liability on the governments behalf would be a huge deterrent. What does it say about our society if we have the means to help an individual but simply can't due to idiotic bureaucracy? Also, I know there would be groups that would abuse the spaces, using them for partying and worse. That doesn't change the fact that the buildings could be put to good use with little cost to government....

  • Jennifer Sheppard
    March 18, 2014 - 07:19

    Changes are a given but the old does not have to be demolished and gone forever. As is becoming popular Hostelling International is opening up hostels for people travelling and wanting to see our country. They offer cheap accommodation for those just passing through. In Ottawa there is the Ottawa Jail, turned hostel and is quite popular. In Edmonton there is the Hi Edmonton. These are two that I know about. Here is the link -- http://www.hihostels.com I would imagine these types of buildings could be used for that purpose. Reuse, Recycle ..... Thanks