Associated Hebrew Schools decide on future
Kamin branch will move to Finch, while board nets 20 bids on the property
Over 20 people bid on the property, both schools and developers.”
Associated Hebrew Schools (AHS), which runs three private traditional Jewish day schools in Toronto and Thornhill, has announced that it has decided to move the remaining students into an existing school, their Kamin branch, at Finch Avenue West and Bathurst Street at the beginning of the 2019 school year, and it has put its 300 Atkinson Ave. property on the market.
“It’s unfortunate that the school had to be wound down and that there wasn’t a greater need and enrolment in that area,” said rabbi Mark Smiley, the head of school for AHS. The Kamin branch, which has the capacity to accommodate 800 students, currently houses 320 students from JK to Grade 8. During the period between now and the start of the 2019 school year, AHS plans to renovate the Finch location to fit the extra students.
“We wanted to take our time in being able to set up the preschool area and create the educational infrastructure that we would need to have the two separate programs in one building,” explained Smiley.
In the meantime, questions are beginning to swirl over what will happen to 300 Atkinson Ave.
“There’s a number of interested parties,” said Vaughan Ward 5 councillor Alan Shefman. “I know this because they’ve come to me and wanted to figure out what could the zoning be, what could they build there.”
Shefman added he had heard some concern from the community that somebody might come in with a higher density proposal.
“We had interest from over 40 organizations and individuals,” said Smiley. “Over 20 people bid on the property, both schools and developers, and the sale process is lengthy and ongoing.”
According to Smiley, five schools showed interest, and four were from various Orthodox day schools.
“We’ve heard some hope that a Jewish institution would buy it,” said Smiley, “and we’ve also heard from people who had hoped that whoever bought it would have leased it back to the school for an indefinite period.”
As the property has only been on the market since early September, the AHS board doesn’t know when the sale will be finalized yet but hopes it will be sooner rather than later.
Shefman is already bracing himself for any unsuitable proposals from developers. “If they come in and try to get an amendment to build a highrise on that property, I’m going to be fighting it, that’s for sure,” he said.
The current site of the Associated Hebrew School at 300 Atkinson Ave.