It may seem strange to anyone who has watched schools close in recent years, but overall the number of students in Hamilton is on the rise.
More schools will close over the next decade and a half, but nearly as many will open.
Hamilton’s school boards face a problem encountered by many boards in the GTA: a mix of older neighbourhoods where the number of students is steadily declining and development in expanding suburban areas putting pressure on boards to build new schools to accommodate the new students.
By 2029, public schools in the city are estimated to have to hold about 16 per cent more students (there are currently just over 34,000). Elementary enrolment in Catholic schools will rise 25 per cent (it’s currently just shy of 19,000).
In secondary schools, enrolment is projected to be up just a few hundred (it’s currently under 16,000) on the public side, but about 15 per cent more in Catholic high schools.
The numbers come from consultants’ reports to the boards to help them set their education development charges bylaws — how they plan to collect money to offset the cost of new buildings.
Up to 15 new elementary schools — nine public and six Catholic — may have to be built in Ancaster, Binbrook-Upper Stoney Creek, Waterdown and Winona over the next 15 years. The Catholic board may also require a new high school in Binbrook.
It’s impossible to predict with 100-per-cent certainty, but that is what enrolment projections show for the next decade and a half, but looking down the road from this point in 2014, here are the future plans for schools in Hamilton over the next 15 years.
ANCASTER/DUNDAS: Another Meadowlands school may be needed; Ancaster and Dundas closures loom
FLAMBOROUGH/WATERDOWN: Another Meadowlands school may be needed; Ancaster and Dundas closures loom
MOUNTAIN: More Mountain elementary school closures on the horizon
STONEY CREEK/BINBROOK: Development in Binbrook, Upper Stoney Creek putting pressure on school boards