It’s official: the new public high school in the city’s north end will be built at Scott Park instead of the property shared by closed Parkview and King George schools as originally planned.
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board trustees on Monday approved a deal with the city that includes the purchase of a sliver of municipal land at the park to make way for the $31.8-million, three-storey school.
The school will sit next to the planned Bernie Morelli recreation centre and its 1,250 students will be able to use to a new artificial playing field the city is building for the Ticats at the former Dominion Glass property, about a 10-minute walk away.
Parking for about 200 vehicles will be provided at the Parkview property, although some barrier-free spaces will also be available at Scott Park.
Senior facilities officer Dan Del Bianco said although the school property will be much smaller than others in the city at just two-thirds of a hectare, the design will draw from the best examples of similarly sized sites in the GTA.
This could include suspended tracks over the gymnasiums, rooftop tracks and green spaces, and internal promenades to make up for the lack of room by the street, he said.
Del Bianco said the same architect will be used for the $17-million rec centre and school to ensure they fulfill the vision for the Pan Am precinct, which also includes the new Tim Hortons Field.
“It will be a spectacular school,” Del Bianco said. “Don’t let size or footprint or green space be a concern.”
Board chair Jessica Brennan, who was praised by trustees for helping broker a deal with the city that had eluded them when they approved the original plan last fall, called the new approach “a vision” for the area.
“This is a phenomenal design of how a community and a neighbourhood can be enhanced,” she said. “This is not only a win for us as a board, not only a win for the city council, but in fact a win for the entire neighbourhood.”
Only Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland voted against the plan, arguing Delta and Sir John A. Macdonald high schools should be “right-sized,” rather than closed to make way for the new school.
He said far from working with the board, the city is insisting the rec centre and school be separate buildings.
“The city will not approve this if it’s not two buildings, so that’s not cooperation,” he said.
But Tim Simmons, the area’s trustee, said the school is going where the community wants it and will remove the “eyesore” of the existing Scott Park school, expected to be demolished this fall.
“This is where the students live. They don’t live around Sir John A. Macdonald; they don’t live around Delta,” he said. “Ninety per cent of the kids will be in walking distance to this site.”
Partnership with city a win for everyone, Brennan says