It doesn’t own the land yet, but Hamilton's public school board is planning to partner with the public French board to build a new high school at the corner of Rymal Road East and Upper Sherman Avenue.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board hopes to nail down a large parcel of land currently owned by Shermal Estates in the next two months, said Daniel Del Bianco, senior facilities manager.

The property will house a new 1,250-student high school to replace Barton, Hill Park and Mountain high schools. The school will also include space for 500 French students in Grades 7 through 12 to replace Conseil scolaire Viamonde.

Del Bianco couldn’t say much about the negotiations, only that the board has issued a letter of intent outlining the terms of agreement.

“We hope to have an executed purchase and sale agreement in front of trustees in the next 30 to 60 days,” he said.

The Ministry of Education told the board in January that it would help the board purchase land to buy the new high school. Money to fund the HWDSB share of the school - $31.8 million – is at the top of the board’s wish list to the ministry this fall. The French board will apply for its own funding for the project.

Trustees voted at a standing committee meeting Monday to move Hill Park students to the Barton site in 2014. Barton students will stay put, but the temporary “holding school” will be given a new name. Mountain Secondary, which is for students with special needs, will stay open until 2017.

No new students will be accepted to Mountain Secondary, which will be phased out gradually with each graduating year. Parkview students will also be invited to attend Mountain as the board closes that school to prepare for a new north high school on the site.

That didn’t sit well with trustee Laura Peddle, who said students will be shocked when they go to select their school for the fall.

“I don’t have the confidence that we’re ready,” she said. “I just don’t.”