07/09/2015 11:29 EDT | Updated 07/09/2016 05:59 EDT

English schools for children with disabilities get $22M for new facility

Two specialized schools for English-speaking children with disabilities will be getting a significant upgrade. 

The Quebec government announced Wednesday it is committing nearly $22 million for a new facility to house the Mackay Centre and the Philip E. Layton schools.

The schools, which operate under the English Montreal School Board, are the only English facilities of their kind in the province.

They share one cramped building in Montreal, built in the 1960s.  

Parents and stakeholders have been fighting for a new facility since 2011, when they learned they would have to leave their current space on Decarie Boulevard. 

"This has been four years in the making... so to actually hear it, to see it in print, it's one of those moments in your life that astounds you," said Joanne Charron-Yannakis, a member of the stakeholders committee whose son attends the MacKay Centre.

She said students will finally have a school built for their needs.

"Buildings like that, when they build them, for example, the windows are lower so you can look out them [while] sitting in a wheelchair. It will be retrofitted for the deaf so when the school bell rings, the school will light up so they will know it's recess or lunchtime."

The new facility is still in the planning stages, but will take at least three years to build.