Summer zoning OK key for new Hamilton Mountain high school

News Jun 04, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Trustees are being assured the new Nora Henderson Secondary School will have enough students to justify its 1,250 capacity despite far lower enrolment at the school it will replace, but whether it’s built on time may depend on city hall.

Departing senior facilities officer Dan Del Bianco said although the south Mountain school is on track to meet “a very firm” September 2017 opening date, it could still miss that target if the site’s rezoning application isn’t approved this summer.

The application is set to go to city council’s planning committee in July, he said, and approval is necessary to finalize the purchase of the 12-hectare residential property, located by the southwest corner of Upper Sherman Avenue and Rymal Road.

The fall 2017 opening date — already pushed back two years — is based on starting construction before this winter, he told the finance and facilities committee.

“If the zoning application gets pushed into the fall, then we won’t meet our timelines,” said Del Bianco, who left his job this week to become the new superintendent of planning and operations at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

“As long as it gets approved when it’s presented, we’ll still be on track.”

Board chair Todd White said he plans to talk to Mayor Fred Eisenberger and the area’s councillor, Scott Duvall, to make sure they’re aware of the construction deadline.

However, he also questioned how the $33-million school will achieve its 1,250 student capacity, noting the existing Henderson — formerly Barton — has an enrolment of just 685 despite taking students from Hill Park after it closed last June.

That’s the lowest enrolment of any regular board high school.

Del Bianco said staff projections suggest the new school will fill up quickly, including by attracting students south of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway who’ve traditionally gone elsewhere “because we have no presence down there.”

“I think it’s an interim dip,” he said of enrolment at the existing Henderson. “I believe, based on our numbers and based on the studies that we’ve done, that they will be back up to regular 1,250 pupil places, if not more, when that new school’s ready.”

Committee chair Wes Hicks, trustee for the west Mountain, said he hopes the enrolment does go up to allow trustees to fulfill commitments they made when they voted to close seven high schools and build two new ones.

“That’s going to be a very interesting number because all along we’ve said when we’re finished with the (13) high schools that they’ll be the same in enrolment, the best place to educate at the secondary level and so forth,” he said.

Del Bianco said he believes people will be excited by the new school’s design, “which will be shared shortly.”

Preliminary plans submitted with the zoning application show a three-storey building fronting onto Upper Sherman, to be extended south of Rymal.

An artificial-turf playing field with a track, bleachers and lighting will be at the rear, while room for 390 parking spaces will be along the southern boundary, with another 15 in front for short-term visits. The design also sets aside land for a future addition.

Summer zoning OK key for new Hamilton Mountain high school

News Jun 04, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Trustees are being assured the new Nora Henderson Secondary School will have enough students to justify its 1,250 capacity despite far lower enrolment at the school it will replace, but whether it’s built on time may depend on city hall.

Departing senior facilities officer Dan Del Bianco said although the south Mountain school is on track to meet “a very firm” September 2017 opening date, it could still miss that target if the site’s rezoning application isn’t approved this summer.

The application is set to go to city council’s planning committee in July, he said, and approval is necessary to finalize the purchase of the 12-hectare residential property, located by the southwest corner of Upper Sherman Avenue and Rymal Road.

The fall 2017 opening date — already pushed back two years — is based on starting construction before this winter, he told the finance and facilities committee.

“If the zoning application gets pushed into the fall, then we won’t meet our timelines.”

“If the zoning application gets pushed into the fall, then we won’t meet our timelines,” said Del Bianco, who left his job this week to become the new superintendent of planning and operations at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

“As long as it gets approved when it’s presented, we’ll still be on track.”

Board chair Todd White said he plans to talk to Mayor Fred Eisenberger and the area’s councillor, Scott Duvall, to make sure they’re aware of the construction deadline.

However, he also questioned how the $33-million school will achieve its 1,250 student capacity, noting the existing Henderson — formerly Barton — has an enrolment of just 685 despite taking students from Hill Park after it closed last June.

That’s the lowest enrolment of any regular board high school.

Del Bianco said staff projections suggest the new school will fill up quickly, including by attracting students south of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway who’ve traditionally gone elsewhere “because we have no presence down there.”

“I think it’s an interim dip,” he said of enrolment at the existing Henderson. “I believe, based on our numbers and based on the studies that we’ve done, that they will be back up to regular 1,250 pupil places, if not more, when that new school’s ready.”

Committee chair Wes Hicks, trustee for the west Mountain, said he hopes the enrolment does go up to allow trustees to fulfill commitments they made when they voted to close seven high schools and build two new ones.

“That’s going to be a very interesting number because all along we’ve said when we’re finished with the (13) high schools that they’ll be the same in enrolment, the best place to educate at the secondary level and so forth,” he said.

Del Bianco said he believes people will be excited by the new school’s design, “which will be shared shortly.”

Preliminary plans submitted with the zoning application show a three-storey building fronting onto Upper Sherman, to be extended south of Rymal.

An artificial-turf playing field with a track, bleachers and lighting will be at the rear, while room for 390 parking spaces will be along the southern boundary, with another 15 in front for short-term visits. The design also sets aside land for a future addition.

Summer zoning OK key for new Hamilton Mountain high school

News Jun 04, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Trustees are being assured the new Nora Henderson Secondary School will have enough students to justify its 1,250 capacity despite far lower enrolment at the school it will replace, but whether it’s built on time may depend on city hall.

Departing senior facilities officer Dan Del Bianco said although the south Mountain school is on track to meet “a very firm” September 2017 opening date, it could still miss that target if the site’s rezoning application isn’t approved this summer.

The application is set to go to city council’s planning committee in July, he said, and approval is necessary to finalize the purchase of the 12-hectare residential property, located by the southwest corner of Upper Sherman Avenue and Rymal Road.

The fall 2017 opening date — already pushed back two years — is based on starting construction before this winter, he told the finance and facilities committee.

“If the zoning application gets pushed into the fall, then we won’t meet our timelines.”

“If the zoning application gets pushed into the fall, then we won’t meet our timelines,” said Del Bianco, who left his job this week to become the new superintendent of planning and operations at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

“As long as it gets approved when it’s presented, we’ll still be on track.”

Board chair Todd White said he plans to talk to Mayor Fred Eisenberger and the area’s councillor, Scott Duvall, to make sure they’re aware of the construction deadline.

However, he also questioned how the $33-million school will achieve its 1,250 student capacity, noting the existing Henderson — formerly Barton — has an enrolment of just 685 despite taking students from Hill Park after it closed last June.

That’s the lowest enrolment of any regular board high school.

Del Bianco said staff projections suggest the new school will fill up quickly, including by attracting students south of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway who’ve traditionally gone elsewhere “because we have no presence down there.”

“I think it’s an interim dip,” he said of enrolment at the existing Henderson. “I believe, based on our numbers and based on the studies that we’ve done, that they will be back up to regular 1,250 pupil places, if not more, when that new school’s ready.”

Committee chair Wes Hicks, trustee for the west Mountain, said he hopes the enrolment does go up to allow trustees to fulfill commitments they made when they voted to close seven high schools and build two new ones.

“That’s going to be a very interesting number because all along we’ve said when we’re finished with the (13) high schools that they’ll be the same in enrolment, the best place to educate at the secondary level and so forth,” he said.

Del Bianco said he believes people will be excited by the new school’s design, “which will be shared shortly.”

Preliminary plans submitted with the zoning application show a three-storey building fronting onto Upper Sherman, to be extended south of Rymal.

An artificial-turf playing field with a track, bleachers and lighting will be at the rear, while room for 390 parking spaces will be along the southern boundary, with another 15 in front for short-term visits. The design also sets aside land for a future addition.