Ontario Expanding School in Russell

Province more than doubles funding to build new schools, faster

NEWSJune 7, 2024

Russell. ON — The Ontario government is investing $5.3 million in the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario for an expansion at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School helping working families in Russell, as announced by Stéphane Sarrazin, MPP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.

This will support the creation of 230 student care spaces Russell as part of the government’s commitment to building state-of-the-art learning spaces for Ontario students.

This project is part of a $1.3 billion plan that more than doubles funding to build new schools and expansions, including child care spaces.

“Today’s investment in St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School demonstrates our commitment to providing quality education and support for working families in Russell. With $5.3 million allocated, we’re not just expanding infrastructure, but also fostering a nurturing environment for 230 student care spaces.” – Stéphane Sarrazin, MPP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell

The overall investment, which is the highest ever made in a single year, supports the creation of more than 27,000 new student spaces and more than 1,700 licensed child care spaces at schools across Ontario.

Ontario’s government unveiled a new plan to build faster, including providing school boards with more flexibility and support to get shovels in the ground quicker and have more options to use existing buildings in their communities. These changes are part of the government’s plan to ensure that the public education system focuses on what matters most: important life-long skills such as reading, writing and math; improving accountability and transparency for parents and families; and maximizing capital assets.

“Our government is investing in new schools and improved infrastructure across the province to support the needs of Ontario’s students, families, and growing communities.” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “These are part of our historic investment of more than $190 billion over the next ten years to build and deliver the critical infrastructure Ontarians deserve today, and for future generations to come.”

The 2024 Budget: Building a Better Ontario continues to support the province’s work being delivered in the Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act to build schools faster and better use taxpayer-funded assets.

“This school addition at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School will be tremendously valuable for the students and families served in Russell. We are extremely grateful to the Ministry of Education for funding this project for our Board. The new addition will enhance learning opportunities for the students entrusted in our care, so that they have the tools to continue to succeed on their learning journey.” Said Board Chair, Sue Wilson

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School is located at 1211 S Russell Road in Russell.


  • In December 2023, the Ministry of Education announced Ontario’s plan to help build schools faster through a transparent, accountable and more efficient process. In the recent Capital Priorities round, school boards were encouraged to standardize the design of new school construction, identify opportunities to work together on joint-use school projects, and bring forward shovel-ready proposals.
  • Since 2018, the Ontario government has invested more than $3.6 billion in capital construction projects in education, including 139 new schools, 109 additions and renovations to existing facilities, creating more than 98,000 student spaces and over 8,000 new licensed child care spaces.
  • In 2023-24, the ministry provided renewal funding of approximately $1.4 billion to school boards to revitalize and renew aged building systems and components. The same amount has been allocated for the 2024-25 school year.
  • The investment is part of Ontario’s commitment to provide about $16 billion to support new school construction, renewal and improvement over 10 years.
  • The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023 ensures the public education system focuses on what matters most: teaching important life‑long skills such as reading, writing and math; improving accountability and transparency for parents and families; maximizing capital assets of boards to support building modern schools faster and better utilizing current school capacity.
  • Ontario secured a $13.2 billion agreement with the federal government that will lower fees for families to an average of $10 a day for children under the age of six under the Canada‑wide Early Learning and Child Care system.


Media contact

Office of MPP Stéphane Sarrazin

Noémie Prevost

Communication and Public Relations Assistant

613 677-8347