Don't let this get around, but the Board of Education is holding an open house on Tuesday night at its handsome downtown headquarters, Main at Bay. That's the place with the miles of marble and the elegant chambers and the library in the round, the place the wreckers are itching to flatten.
The board has done its best to keep the open house a secret. If they made some official announcement, I missed it. If they advertised it in some way around Hamilton, I missed that too.
And I think we can be excused for missing it on the board's website. On the main page, there is a banner in bright orange that proclaims "We're Moving!"
If we somehow think to click on the modest "media desk" button, and then on events calendar, we can scroll way down and find a one-line notice for Tuesday, June 19:
"As HWDSB prepares to relocate its Education Centre, we will hold an open house from 5 - 7 p.m. with a cornerstone opening ceremony at 5:30 p.m."
It's no mystery why this open house is so low key. The board knows it's not a good idea to have too many people see the insides of this doomed treasure.
When the school board headquarters opened in 1967, people got a chance to look around. They declared it beautiful. In fact, they wondered if it was too grand. And as they say in the real estate game, it still shows well.
The building should have been on last month's 2012 Doors Open tour. That was all day Saturday and Sunday, the first weekend of May. Thousands toured churches, homesteads, galleries, the Lister Block.
At the Board of Ed, they could have marvelled at the dark-paneled chambers and auditorium. Walked the white marble. Sat in the vintage sound-proofed phone booths. Checked out the spacious boardrooms, with tall arched windows and long shiny tables.
At first, the board liked the idea of taking part in the big tour. But then, a change of heart. On Doors Open weekend, the education headquarters stayed locked.
And now we're left with a two-hour window on a Tuesday night.
Hard to say what kind of attendance they'll see Tuesday night. But there will people out on the front lawn, a group called SOS, or Save Our Schools. They're coming to protest the board's decision to close so many schools. The citizens promise it will be peaceful, and the weather man promises it will be hot.
Next month, the education building and the land on which it stands will belong to McMaster. It's going to erect a health centre, which is a wonderful development for downtown. But that new building would easily have fit on the school board's parking lot, commanding the corner of King and Bay.
Architect Joseph Singer designed the board headquarters with care. In a long career, it was the building that made him most proud and he knows it is not yet worn out.
Doesn't matter. Word on the street is that the wreckers will celebrate the August long weekend at 100 Main West.
You can read more CBC Hamilton stories by Paul Wilson here.