Delta Secondary School, now sitting empty, goes to tender by end of April
Coun. Sam Merulla wants parkette in development agreement for green space
It's been more than a year since the City of Hamilton skipped out on purchasing Delta Secondary School, and the public school board plans to have the building go to tender by the end of April.
Shawn McKillop, spokesperson for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), says the board has received all the necessary approvals and the school is available for sale.
But they've been holding off on a tender process, he said, citing delays to ongoing lockdowns during the pandemic and a switch away from a hard copy bid format.
"We are finalizing an electronic bid process and hope to have this out at the end of the month to solicit interest in the property," he said.
Aside from going out to public tender, the school board also been able to receive offers for the building. McKillop didn't share the school's price point or whether anyone has already expressed interest.
HWDSB shuttered after it voted to consolidate six high schools, including Delta Secondary School, into two.
Delta students began attending Bernie Custis Secondary School in fall 2019 — four years after the expected date. The school has been vacant ever since.
Cost means condos are the 'only opportunity'
HWDSB trustees went to dispose of the building, but after no public agencies showed interest, they approved putting the building on the open market in February 2020.
Coun. Sam Merulla (Ward 4) said it was a "grave mistake" by the board to close the doors, but the city couldn't afford to buy it. Because of the cost per acre, he said the only real opportunity is a residential development.
The building can be repurposed as condos, he said, and a six-storey tower can also be built behind the portion of the school that isn't historical.
Merulla said he's making a check-list for the neighbourhood in future dealings with "whoever has the money to buy it."
"You understand what their intent is and then try to massage it to ensure that we get the maximum return for the community," he said.
Since the area includes a lot of green space, Merulla says that tops the list. He wants a parkette in the development agreement.
"They have to want to work with us. They can't come in expecting to be a bull in a china shop," he said of potential developers.
Building was oldest high school in Hamilton
Located at 1284 Main St. E., the Delta Secondary School grounds take up an entire city block. Designed with a modern gothic style by Gordon Hutton and William Souter, it first opened in 1924 under the name of Delta Collegiate Institute.
The school has a foundation of Milton red rug brick and Tyndall limestone, a spectacular arch at its entrance, and a central tower where art class used to be.
It was expanded in 1948 with a more modern design to offer more technical and commercial programs. It was expanded again in the 1970s. The city approved a heritage designation, which covers the main building and the first additions, in 2014.
After another school burned down, Delta became the only surviving collegiate institute, which was the highest order of secondary schools in the province in the 1920s. Before the board closed it, Delta was the oldest high school in the city.
Properties are sold 'as-is'
McKillop said facilities staff are required to do regular building checks at a minimum bi-weekly basis.
But when asked about the condition of the building, McKillop said that the purchaser is responsible for completing their due diligence to understand the condition or state.
"Our buildings are generally sold as-is," he said.
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