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The History of St. Daniel Catholic School

The History of St. Daniel Catholic School 2017-03-07T10:17:24+00:00

(1965 – 2015)

In the 1950’s a large group of Kitchener house builders, thirty two firms in all, formed a new company called Buildevco Ltd. for the purpose of developing new commercial properties and residential building lots. Ever since the end of the Second World War, the demand for new homes was exceeding the availability of building lots. Buildevco Ltd. was determined to rectify this situation with the development of a huge new subdivision in the north-east sector of Kitchener to known as Stanley Park.

In 1959, after consultation with Buildevco and Kitchener city planners, the Kitchener Separate School Board decided two new schools would be required to serve this growing area.

In 1962 a five acre school site was purchased from Buildevco which was located on land between River Road and Breckenridge Drive. The price paid was $10,000. Negotiations with the company continued for the purchase of a second school site which the School Board felt would eventually be needed.

By 1963 the Board informed Buildevco that they wished to purchase the second site at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Ottawa Street North. By this time, also, Sister Aloysia, Supervising Principal, and Mr. Kraemer, Secretary, had prepared an enrolment forecast for the period of 1965-66-67 for the area served by St. Anne, Notre Dame and St. Leo School, based on the growth pattern being experienced in these three school and the new housing growth being predicted by the Kitchener Planning Department for Stanley Park and other nearby subdivisions.

This enrolment forecast convinced the Board that a new school would be required in Stanley Park in 1965 or no later than 1966. Because of the fast growth of school enrolment being experienced all over the province in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was not too difficult to obtain permission from the Ministry of Education to build new schools. The Ministry’s main requisites for permission to build were a) proof of enrolment growth and b) proof of ability of the Board to finance its share of the capital cost (sufficient assessment base for tax purposes.)

In the course of 1964 several new factors in the planning and the development of Stanley Park had to be considered by the Board which could have a direct bearing on the original plans for tow school sites within Stanley Park:

a) The City of Kitchener decided that River Road should be developed as a major traffic artery, with limited access thereto: it was felt a separate school should not face on to what eventually would be a very busy roadway.
b) The City Planning Department recommended the land between River Road and Breckenridge Drive should be zoned for high rise apartments to complement the large-size plaza being planned for the corner of River Road and Ottawa Street North.
c) The Board was informed that another large subdivision was being planned further to the north-east which would probably require a separate school. (Note: Canadian Martyrs now serves this area.)

In November 1964 the Board decided that one school would serve the Stanley Park area; if another school would be needed to keep pace with the growth of the north-east sector, it would be better located further to the north-east in the T. O. P. subdivision.

As a result of this decision the Board returned title of the five acre site on River Road to Buildevco and in turn purchased an eight acre site in the Midland-Ottawa-Franklin Streets block. Total cost of this eight acre was $16,000.

At the same time the Kitchener Parks Department agreed to accept title to a six acre block adjoin the school site. Long range plans of the Parks Department called for establishment of an open space walkway connecting and using open areas of the Conservations area, Midland Park and school site, the Hydro Electric Transmission Line right-of-way, Idlewood Park and Chicopee Conservation Area.

Permission was received from the Ministry of Education to build a school consisting of six classrooms, a kindergarten and a general purpose room. By December 1964 the architectural firm of Horton & Ball was busy developing sketch and detail plans for the new school for Board approval.

The following is an excerpt from the Minutes of a Kitchener Separate School Board Meeting held on Monday, February 8, 1965:

Mr. Muschamp suggested the Board should recognize the 22 years of service given to this Board by Mr. D.J. Murawsky by naming the new school in Stanley Park St. Daniel School. After discussion, it was

MOVED by E.H. Muschamp
SECONDED by Rev. A.C. Mayer

THAT the new school in Stanley Park be named St. Daniel,
in recognition of the long service rendered this
Board by Trustee D.J. Murawsky, subject to approval
Of His Excellency, Bishop Ryan.

CARRIED

At a Board Meeting held on April 13, 1965 the tender of Ball Brothers Contractors Ltd. For $233,990. to build the new school was accepted by the Board.
In May, final approval of the Ministry of Education was received to borrow $256,000. By way of a 20 year Debenture to pay for the construction and furnishing of St. Daniel School.
Although the school was not quite completely finished by September, 1965, it was far enough advanced to open for operation with an enrolment of 95 pupils. So, in September, 1965, St. Daniel School became the fourteenth school in the Kitchener School System, and the tenth school constructed in the twenty years since the end of the Second World War. Total enrolment of the fourteen schools in September, 1965 was 6,678 pupils.

The 1965-66 school year staff at St. Daniel School was made up of:-

Mr. Gary Lobsinger, Principal taught Grades 5, 6 & 7.
Mrs. Lois Schmitt, Grades 3 &4.
Miss Eileen Foran, Grades 1 & 2.
Mrs. June Toushan, Kindergarten.
Mr. Carl Daub, Custodian

The Kitchener Separate School Board in 1965 was: –

Mr. G.L. Reidel Chairman
Mr. E.H. Muschamp Vice-Chairman
Rev. F. Dentinger, C.R. Member
Rev. E.J. Hartleib Member
Mr. D.J. Murawsky Member
Mr. C.J. Scheil Member
Mr. G.F. Moser Member
Mr. W.J. Rich Member
Mr. G.A. Mackay Member
Mr. J.J. Olinski Member
Mr. F.G. Kraemer Business Administrator
Sister M. Rosalis Supervising Principal
Mr. John Sweeney Inspector
Mr. Cliff Denome Assistant business Administrator
Mr. D.C. Howald Supervisor of Maintenance

The total budget for the school system in 1965 was $1,949,300.

When the Board purchased the eight acre school site in 1964 for St. Daniel School, it was assumed at that time that some of this land would eventually be made available to the Episcopal Corporation, Diocese of Hamilton, for the construction of a church. In the early half of 1966, His Excellency, Bishop Ryan, appointed Rev. R.W. O’Brien to organize and establish a new parish centred on St. Daniel School. Father O’Brien approached the Board, and was given permission to use the General Purpose Room of the school for church purposes, a house was purchased on Franklin Avenue to serve as a Rectory.

In September, 1966, all classrooms were in use in St. Daniel’s, and by January, 1967 the enrolment was up to 234 pupils; this continuing growth was a result of the fast pace of house construction in Stanley Parl. In March, 1967 the school board approved plans for construction of an addition to St. Daniel School consisting of six classrooms and a library resource centre, under the same architectural firm of Horn & Ball.

In May, 1967 the Board accepted the tender of Monteith-McGrath Ltd. To build the addition for $197,351. The Board also agreed to borrow a total of $232,000. To pay for complete costs of this project: construction, architect fees, furnishings and school yard improvements.

This expenditure, when added to the cost of the original school of $256,000. And the $16,000. Cost of the land, now represented a total investment in St. Daniel school property of $504,000. (In 1979, the building was valued at $1,200,000. For insurance purposes.)

By the summer of 1967, Messrs, G.L. Mackay and Rev. E.J. Hartleib were retired from the Board, and new members were Messrs. J.R. Huck, P.J. Flynn, S.P. Englert, L.J. Reinhart, C.A. Wilhelm and C.W. McEvoy.

The enrolment at St. Daniel’s in September, 1967 was 291 pupils.

In January, 1968 Father O’Brien complete purchase of the house and one-acre property of Mr. Wayne Snyder immediately beside the school building at the corner of Ottawa St. and Midland Dr. This property, along with approximately one-acre made available by the school board for parking, became the site for St. Daniel Church and Rectory.

Enrolment at St. Daniel School reached its peak in 1971:

1970 469 pupils
1971 480 pupils
1972 409 pupils
1973 385 pupils
1974 384 pupils
1975 338 pupils
1976 379 pupils
1977 411 pupils
1978 385 pupils

In September, 1969, Mr. Robert Bilyk succeeded Mr. Lobsinger as Principal. In 1971, Sister Elise Diemert became Principal, followed by Sister Constantia in 1976.

It might be of interest to note that St. Daniel School sits on land that was one of the first farms cleared and settled in the Kitchener area by the Mennonite settler from Pennsylvania.
The land had been in the ownership of the Snyder family for well over one hundred years. The house which was demolished to make way for the Church, was a fine example of typical Waterloo County Mennonite farm-house construction:- the construction materials, lumber and field stone were from the surrounding land.