Banting Memorial High School to be rebuilt

May 18, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek
After more than 60 years, and seven major face-lifts, Banting Memorial High School in Alliston is being rebuilt.
The aging structure, built in 1949, is currently running at 103 per cent capacity with 1491 pupils and although that number is expected to decrease to just 83 per cent in 2026, representatives feel that the time to request funding for a new school building through the Ministry of Education (the province) is now.
At a deputation during Monday night’s council meeting, Superintendent Paul Sloan of the Simcoe County District School Board, told council that the cost of the rebuild will come in at about $34 million.
Although he did not say how or where the building would be situated, he did book councillors for a tour of other local high schools for Friday afternoon to show them what was being offered in neighbouring municipalities.
In a Power Point presentation, Sloan pointed out new school concepts in Angus, and Stayner, featuring large libraries, arboretums and expanded sports facilities. In one case, a Public health Unit even shared the building.
“We’re looking for community partners,” confirmed Sloan on the purpose of his deputation. “The Ministry looks favourably on applications where there is a partnership in place.”
Sloan went on to say that the partnership would be long standing – like the previous Banting building, which lasted 65 years.
The new structure would be build using a S.T.E.A.M. model, or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – the focus of the school board in all its schools. As such, classrooms supporting these areas of study would take priority.
The building will likely be smaller than the existing structure, to ensure first cycle funding and a quick application process.
Senior planner Sandy Clee confirmed that the structure would be engineered to accept future additions, and portables if necessary.
“We will build for right-sizing and anticipated enrollment,” confirmed Sloan.
With council now having an overview of the plan, next steps would be to pick a location for the new school, identify partnership opportunities and confirm the needs of the Town and the board.
With council’s endorsement, the board would then prepare a letter of understanding and plan for the financial commitment.
A business case submission, revealing further details, is expected this June.
Should Banting not be rebuilt, the school would require $15.5 million in repairs (now), and $28 million in repairs in just five years.

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