Kitchissippi residents have received some much-needed clarity from the Ottawa Carleton District School Board today on the impact of a potential heritage designation of the "Tower" portion of Broadview Public School (shown at right) to the planned rebuild of the school (shown below).
A memo posted online by the Board notes that construction on the new school will start in summer of 2015, with the school ready to be opened a year later. They clarify an important point: even if the tower receives designation, it will not require a re-design of the new school.The "tower" building in question is along Broadview and not physically in the way of the planned building, which will face Dovercourt on the south side of the property.
The designation does have the potential to create a two-month delay while parking and storm water management are re-designed. And, there is the potential that some green space equivalent to the footprint of the old structure might be lost.
But I don’t believe that either of these are a certainty. For example, the new school is slated to have many dozens of parking spots, and we should be looking closely at how many are actually needed. Also, given the urgency, I am sure the engineers and architects will work diligently to minimize timelines for any re-design.
Over the long-term, the bigger decision about what to do with the remaining portion of the old structure is an important one. Will the Board be able to fund a rehabilitation of the building that is left, possibly in partnership, to put it to good community use? If that funding takes time to arrange, how will we ensure the building is safe in the meantime?
My early reaction to the most recent news is that re-using the building for student space (rather than portables) would be costly and introduce significant delays. Ways may be found to minimize those impacts, but the way forward is certainly easier by separating treatment of the heritage building from building a completely new school. Re-use for student space isn’t impossible, but it would be very challenging.
I’m looking forward to working closely with trustee Erica Braunovan on these and other issues. As always, I invite your feedback. Contact me at email@example.com or call 613.580.2485 to chat any time.