New north-end school will go on King George/Parkview land

Public board trustees will squeeze a three-storey high school onto a site too small for a parking lot or a full size sports field, but that lets them meet provincial funding timelines and keeps a central location.
Site of the new lower city school, with adjacent field and nearby parking.

It’s not a large enough site to include a parking lot, but public school board trustees have voted to put a new north high school on the current site of King George and Parkview schools.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board will build a new 1,250-student, three-storey school on the 3.67-acre land. Its parking lot, suitable for 165 vehicles, will be 200 metres down the road at Scott Park.

Trustees voted at a standing committee meeting Monday night. The decision will be ratified by the board on Oct. 28.

This doesn’t get what everyone wants, but it’s good for kids.- HWDSB chair Tim Simmons

It will still be a tight fit – the King George/Parkview land is only large enough for the school and a soccer field that will double as a practice football field. Full football games will be 3.8 kilometres away at Sir Winston Churchill.

But chair Tim Simmons said this option is looking out for students.

“This doesn’t get what everyone wants, but it’s good for kids,” said Simmons, who represents the area.

It means the board will expropriate the land that formerly housed Scott Park high school. The price of that is still undetermined. It also means that the Scott Park building will be demolished at accost of $4 million.

“That community has long wanted to see (the building) come down,” Simmons said.

The King George/Parkview land leaves enough room for a future theatre or portables, director John Malloy said.

There could be a wrinkle in the plan. The city is currently doing a heritage assessment of the King George building to determine its heritage value and whether to designate it a heritage property, which would make it more difficult to demolish.

In this process, the city will determine which heritage attributes of King George that the board needs to maintain, said Daniel Del Bianco, the board’s senior facilities manager.

The assessment should be finished in two to three weeks, Del Bianco said.

The new school will replace Sir John A. Macdonald, Delta and Parkview schools, which will close by 2016. Students at Parkview, a school for students with special needs, will have the option to attend Mountain, which serves a similar population, until Mountain closes in 2017.

The new school will cost $31.8 million. The Ministry of Education has provided funding.

This is a plan B for the board. Initially, it approached the city asking to partner on a recreation centre and high school complex. The city declined.