New Henderson High will have state-of-art sports facilities, trustee says
By Richard Leitner, News Staff
Sir Allan MacNab will get a new sports field and refurbished track this summer, while Sherwood’s tile gym floors will be resurfaced with hardwood in the first phase of a five-year strategy to revitalize Hamilton’s public high schools.
The two Mountain schools are among the major beneficiaries of the plan, to be funded in part from a projected $27 million in property-disposition proceeds from the closure of Barton, Hill Park, Mountain and the sale of vacant sites.
The money is no longer needed for the new Frances Nora Henderson High School slated for the corner of Upper Sherman Street and Rymal Road because the province is footing the $33-million bill for the 1,250-student building, as it is for a new high school by the Pan Am stadium.
The latter will replace Delta, Sir John. A. Macdonald and Parkview high schools.
“It’s been a tough go with the ARCs on the Mountain and with Delta and Macdonald,” west Mountain trustee Wes Hicks said, referring to the contentious closure reviews.
“However, when you get to this point, you look back and say it was well worth it. Things are starting to fall into place and the public will be able to see exactly what the payoff of what we’re trying to do is.”
Improvements at Sherwood and MacNab will mostly be done over the next three years and upgrade everything from heating, ventilation and electrical systems to science and technology labs, cafeterias, program support space and teachers’ workrooms.
The revitalization strategy gives priority to schools listed in poor condition and comes as the school board is still in the midst of finalizing the purchase of the 11.6-hectare (29-acre) site for the new Henderson High, scheduled to open in September 2016.
Hicks, who expects the deal to close shortly, said the school’s sports facilities will include an artificial-turf playing field, bleachers, a proper track and a gym large enough to host games, warm-ups and practices at the same time.
“It will be the state-of-the-art high school for OFSAA championships as well as your academic labs or science labs and so forth,” Hicks said, noting the sprawling property gives the board plenty of flexibility on designing the outdoor features.
“We’re really, really excited about that because a lot times when you build high schools you don’t have the opportunity to have the acreage that allows you to space things out,” he said.
“The design has incorporated a potential expansion of students, so if we put an addition on, it’s right in the original design.”