Toronto's public school board has approved the sale of another four schools to add to the dozens it has deemed surplus in past years as it attempts to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to reinvest in new and refurbished schools and to simply catch up on a $2.8-billion backlog in repairs.
Trustees recently decided to sell the already closed Timothy Eaton Businees and Technical Institute in Scarborough, the Essex West building and plaground in the Annex, the former Parkview elementary school in Etobicoke's Long Branch and the Pine River Outdoor Education Centre in Dufferin County northwest of Toronto.
A decision on the sale of the latter two properties was made in camera and details won't be released until September, said Toronto District School Board (TDSB) staff.
Pine River, located near the hamlet of Horning's Mills, is a residential field study centre that was shut down in 2003, only seven years after it was built by the former Borough of York Board of Education. The TDSB's land management arm, the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC), is already in the midst of selling portions of two other outdoor education centres it owns in Dufferin Cty., Boyne and Noisy River, to the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
The TLC has already sold 22 non-operating school sites across the city over the past two years, and it expects to finalize sales for another 10 surplus properties over the next year, according to a progress report submitted to its chair David Crombie at the end of June.
However, despite the sale of dozens of properties, the school board still has a list of an estimated 80 non-operating school sites, many of which are leased out to other schools or community groups.
SCHOOL PROPERTIES TO BE SOLD
Selling off closed school properties will provide the majority of funding for a five-year capital building program approved by trustees.
The capital building program, which will be submitted to the province for approval, outlines five areas where the board expects to generate funding through the sale of school properties:
1) $39.1 million from the sale of three closed schools, including:
Timothy Eaton BTI site, located at 1251 Bridletowne Circle near Finch and Warden Avenues. Board staff want the TLC to try to sell the building and the land to a public agency interested in turning it into a community hub. If there is no such interest, the TLC will ask the board for future direction. A child care centre currently operating at Timothy Eaton will be relocated to Highland Heights Junior PS about 1.5 kilometres away.
West building and playground of Essex-Hawthorne II Bilingual Alternative PS, located on Essex Street southwest of Christie and Dupont Streets, to the French Catholic school board. Sale is subject to allowance for Essex-Hawthorn students being able to continue accessing two rooms and the gym in the west building. The Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils program in the west building will be relocated to another site.
West Toronto CI, located on Landsdowne Avenue just north of College Street. Though the school has closed, trustees postponed consideration of deeming the property surplus. The board's director will form a staff committee and up to six other interested people to explore "creative, multi-use options for the use of space at West Toronto" and report back by September 2010.
2) $48.76 million from the sale of eight schools recommended for closure and sale, including:
- Heron Park Junior PS, located at 280 Manse Rd., southeast of Morningside and Lawrence Avenues
- Peter Secor Junior PS, 255 Coronotation Drive, southeast of Morningside and Lawrence
- four acres of land around William G. Miller P.S., southeast of Morningside and Lawrence
- Brooks Road PS, 85 Keeler Blvd., southwest of Morningside and and Hwy. 401
- McCowan Road Junior PS, 425 McCowan Road, north of Eglinton Avenue East
- Pringdale Gardens Junior PS, 1325 Danforth Road, north of Eglinton
- Silverthorn Junior PS, 55 Ypres Rd., southeast of Keele Street and Eglinton Avenue West
- Arlington Middle School, 501 Arlington Ave., east of Oakwood Avenue and Vaughan Road
Briar Hill Junior PS, 1100 Briar Hill Ave., northeast of Dufferin Street and Castlefield Avenue. Decision on closure and sale of this school has been postponed by the board until staff present a report on the feasibility of making the school JK-Grade 3 with commercial or residential space above it.
3) Approximately $120 million by declaring surplus and selling some already non-operating school sites over the next five years. The board projected to earn $41.7 million this year by selling properties recommended in the TLC's 2010-11 annual plan, reviewed recently in camera by the board. However, it is unknown if the board will be able to raise the full amount as they only approved declaring surplus two of the properties recommended by TLC, including:
The former Parkview elementary school, located at 85 41st St. southwest of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Browns Line. The school is currently home to Funshine Child Care Centre and Lakeside Montessori School.
Pine River Outdoor Education Centre, near Shelburne. The site is currently occupied by the Pine River Institute, a residential treatment centre and outdoor leadership experience for teenagers struggling with mental health issues, and specifically substance abuse.
4) $89.16 to $111.9 million through the redevelopment of four school properties, including:
The potential for redeveloping 3.8 acres while maintaining a school presence at the board's Davisville Junior PS site, located at 43 Millwood Rd., northeast of Yonge Street and Davisville Avenue. The board will form a local school community design team in January, 2011 to explore a land use management plan for the property.
Redeveloping the large land assembly at Bloor and Dufferin Streets including the Bloor CI, Kent Senior PS-ALPHA II Alternative School, the closed Brockton high school, and Brockton Stadium properties. The plan is to redevelop the property while also replacing the existing Bloor CI with a larger facility of 1,200 spaces. The board will form a local school community design team in September to explore a land use management plan for the property.
In the Midland-Lawrence area, consolidating Bendale BTI and David and Mary Thomson CI students together in a new 1,500 student secondary school, to be located at the interior of the school property, as well as seeking a development partner to construct and operate a major sports complex. That would enable 21 acres of lands fronting onto Midland Avenue and Lawrence Avenue East to be redeveloped for residential development. The board has already started the process to select architects to confirm the parcels of land that will be declared surplus and provide design services for the new high school.
Intensifying on a 10-acre parcel of land that includes the Avondale elementary school and a school plant facility, located on Avondale Avenue and Oakburn Court northeast of Yonge and Hwy. 401. The board plans to relocate the plant and construct a new elementary school to allow for some new residential development. It will form a local school community design team in January, 2011 to explore a land use management plan for the property.
5) Projected revenues from the sale of properties that have already been deemed surplus over the past few years. The TLC's progress report states it is trying to finish sales of 10 properties, including:
- Fifteen acres of vacant land on Alton Towers Circle, near Goldhawk Park south of McCowan and Steeles Avenue. The TLC is negotiating to sell five acres to the French public school board and then make a development plan to sell the remaining 10 acres next year.
- The west parking lot, or 1.4 acres, at 120 Borough Dr., located beside the Scarborough Civic Centre, to a private company.
- A board building at 939 Progress Ave. to Centennial College. The board's Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies - an adult high school - will move from this location into the former Midland Avenue C.I. this fall.
- Four acres of parkland on Lothian Avenue, located beside the Fairfield Seniors Centre southeast of Bloor and Islington Avenue, to the City of Toronto.
- Heathercrest Park, 5.9 acres on Storey Crescent southwest of Martingrove Road and Eglinton Ave. W., to the Toronto Region Conservation Authority.
A property attached to R.H. McGregor elementary school at 840 Coxwell Ave. near Mortimer Avenue. The TLC is negotiating to lease or sell the property to Toronto East General Hospital.
Shaw PS, to be severed from Givins/Shaw P.S. on Shaw Street, northeast of Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue. The TLC is negotiating to sell the property to Artscape.
A 1.6-acre property, which includes a small greenspace and Bais Yaakov elementary school, at 15 Saranac Blvd. at Drexel Road, northwest of Bathurst and Lawrence Ave. W. The property only went on the market in June.
- A portion, 100 of 409 acres, of the Boyne Outdoor Education Centre in Dufferin Cty. to the Bruce Trail Conservancy
- The majority, 80 of 100 acres, of the Noisy River OEC in Dufferin Cty. to the Bruce Trail Conservancy