By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Saturday February 11, 2012
Board trustees want to hear Hamilton’s Education Centre plan
The public school board hasn’t closed the door on keeping its headquarters downtown.
Several trustees said Thursday they are open to hearing a plan that would allow its Education Centre to remain in the core. But it’s still too soon to know if the city can bring a feasible — and financially realistic — option to the table.
“We’re still waiting to hear from the city with regard to the motion that was brought forward by Jason Farr last night, so we have no idea what the intent is or how they would help us out,” said board chair Tim Simmons. “It’s really too early to go there.”
City council backed a motion Wednesday night to officially petition the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board to locate its new headquarters in a second tower to the south of City Hall.
Farr, the downtown councillor behind the motion, acknowledged the pitch is coming late in the game, with the board having already decided on the former Crestwood school grounds on the Mountain as the preferred site for its new home.
Nonetheless, “now is better than never.”
“Things do happen last minute and better deals do come along. This very well might be one,” he said. “I still think there’s an opportunity.”
Farr is hopeful city staff can come up with a plan that would allow the board to build the new tower within its $31-million budget. The partnership would also include an “extremely cheap” long-term land lease.
In order to boost the downtown economy and keep the board’s 400 workers in the core, “we’re willing to make adjustments and concessions,” Farr said. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)