School board moving to Mountain

The local public school board is moving to the Mountain.

City has been working to keep the board downtown

The school board is set to vacate its headquarters at 100 Main St. W. by Aug. 1. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The local public school board is moving to the Mountain rather than keeping its education centre downtown, CBC Hamilton has learned.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board voted in an in-camera session late Monday night to move forward with the move to its Crestwood location at 50 Millwood Place.

It will vacate its headquarters at 100 Main St. W. by Aug. 1.

A joint task force between the board and the city has been working this spring in an effort to keep some or all of the education centre's operations downtown. About 250 employees work there.

The task force was started earlier this year by councillors Jason Farr and Brian McHattie.

"The board thanks councillors Farr and McHattie for bringing forward their motion to have the board stay downtown," board chair Tim Simmons said in a media release.

"The joint city board task force had some good discussions about potential sites but in the end, those discussions came much too late in the process."

The board has been working to consolidate its administration since 2007 when it was faced with substantial renovation costs. It declared the education centre as surplus in March 2011. It submitted a $31.6-million business plan to the Ministry of Education, which approved it.

McMaster University has purchased the Main Street West property. It will demolish the education centre building, erected in 1966, and build a new $85-million McMaster Downtown Health Campus.

The board will move into space at the Standard Life Building, the Stelco Tower and the Robert Thompson Building in July until the new location is ready in 2014.

"With the fiscal challenges currently facing our province as well as the timing constraints, the board felt it was prudent to move forward with the Ministry of Education approved plan," Simmons said.