September 5, 2022 6:00am
A new school in Windsor will welcome students in a building with a heritage designation.
Construction on James L. Dunn Public School on Mercer Street started in November 2019.
It used to be the International Playing Card Company building. It was slated for demolition when the Windsor Heritage Committee stepped in to keep the site intact. It was designated a heritage site in January 2017.
“James L. Dunn is a unique building combining old and new architecture,” said the Director of Education at the Greater Essex County District School Board, Erin Kelly.
The building was designed by JP Thomson Architects and cost $15.2 million.
James L. Dunn was a Black entrepreneur who started the JL Dunn Paint and Varnish Company in 1867. He was drawn to politics by the segregation of schools in Windsor and fought to desegregate students.
The name represented a departure from naming schools after individuals for the Greater Essex County District School Board. In recent years, it had favored names that reflected geographic features of the surrounding community or aspirational ideals.
The new school will replace the Giles Campus French Immersion School and have room to house 645 students from Junior Kindergarten to grade eight.
It will also feature four childcare rooms, enough for 73 new childcare spaces.