Bahai News -- The London Free Press - Baha'i school to buy Weldon

Baha'i school to buy Weldon

MONIQUE BEECH, Free Press Reporter
2003-06-02 04:26:51

A school dedicated to Baha'i-inspired religious principles is set to take over Weldon Park Academy, slated to close at the end of the month. The board of governors for the private school on Ridout Street accepted an offer last week from Nancy Campbell Collegiate Institute, based in Stratford, said real estate agent George Georgopoulos.

The deal has not closed, he said.

Officials from Weldon Park Academy and Nancy Campbell Collegiate Institute could not be reached for comment on the weekend.

Although there were several interested parties, the Campbell school made the most attractive offer, Georgopoulos said.

"They've been at this for months," said the Sutton Group Select Realty agent, one of two agents who listed the property for $3.8 million.

Nancy Campbell is "a pretty respected school."

But some Weldon parents have concerns about the school's future.

Pratap Chand, whose children Kevin and Moneesha attend Weldon Park, isn't comfortable sending them to a school with a "religious agenda."

He plans to send his children to another private school or a public school next fall.

"A neutral organization would be OK," he said a day after attending a meeting between parents and Nancy Campbell staff last Friday.

"When a religious group is involved (running a school), organized set beliefs comes in with it."

Staff from Nancy Campbell asked Weldon Park parents to enrol their children for next fall, he said.

Parents questioned staff about curriculum and the school's direction, but the answers weren't clear, Chand said.

The Web site for Nancy Campbell Collegiate Institute touts itself as a multi-faith, non-denominational institution that respects "a diversity of cultures."

The Baha'i Faith was founded by a man called Baha'u'llah in 18th century Persia. It's central theme is global unity.

Weldon Park's board of governors decided to sell the 0.64-hectare site -- once home to the Labatt headquarters -- after its enrolment plummeted to 140, down from 470 two years ago.

Parents received notice of a pending closing last January.

They later joined forces with Weldon staff and raised more than $500,000 last January, keeping the Weldon Park open until the end of the school year.

Board members made the final decision to close the school in early May.

©Copyright 2003, The London Free Press (Ontario, Canada)

Following is the URL to the original story. The site may have removed or archived this story. URL: http://www.canoe.com/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/News/2003/06/02/101283.html


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