Bendale/Thomson amalgamation still waiting for green light

Two Scarborough schools will continue to wait before any progress is made toward the amalgamation of both schools.

“What the province has said to the school board is that there’s not enough funding based on the surplus properties declared by the board for sale,” Scarborough Centre trustee Scott Harrison said. “In other words, to support the investments.”

In a previous issue of the Observer, it was reported that the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) recommended the consolidation of Bendale Business and Technical Institute and David and Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute but funding issues were delaying the project.

On June 23 the school board finalized the decision to close Bendale and Thomson to build a $41-million high school on the land behind where Bendale now sits, as part of a five-year plan.

Harrison says the construction and demolition plans are still pending ministry approval.

“We were hoping to have the approval by September, but it’s our understanding the board still needs to back up part of its five-year capital plan with supporting properties for disposal to help fund it,” Harrison said.

This being an election year has slowed progress, he said.

“We were hoping to have the architect picked to design it by now, and we haven’t got approval from the ministry to do that yet,” Harrison said. “It’s all contingent on the board’s five-year capital plan, and that has to have approval from the Ministry of Education.”

Although the project is currently at a stand-still, Harrison says the end result will be a huge benefit for families in the Scarborough community.

“Once it’s completed, Scarborough families will see a school built for the 21st century, instead of one built in the 20th century, with new technology, updated facilities – all kinds of things,” Harrison said.

Harrison will no longer serve on the board of trustees as he was not re-elected this term, but he says his confidence in the plan and those behind it will not change.

“As the board moves forward, I’m still confident that they will come up with the properties that are closed and need to be sold as an asset we can use to help rebuild new schools for students,” Harrison said.