Hen­der­son high school open­ing set for Sept. 2019

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - RICHARD LEITNER

Hamil­ton’s pub­lic school board ex­pects to fi­nally ten­der the con­tract to build the new Nora Frances Hen­der­son Sec­ondary School in late July and break ground this fall.

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to take 18 to 24 months, so if all goes to plan the south­east Moun­tain school will open its doors in Septem­ber 2019 — four years later than promised when trustees voted in 2012 to close Bar­ton, Hill Park and Moun­tain.

To be built near the south­west cor­ner of Up­per Sher­man Av­enue and Ry­mal Road, it will re­place the ex­ist­ing Hen­der­son, for­merly Bar­ton, which is serv­ing as a hold­ing school and is sched­uled to close in June 2019.

“It’s fi­nally com­ing,” Dawn Danko, the area’s trustee, said fol­low­ing an up­date on the project at the Feb. 8 fi­nance and f acil­i­ties com­mit­tee meet­ing.

“Grade 8 stu­dents, if they’re go­ing next year into Grade 9, can ex­pect half of their high school ca­reer to be at the new Hen­der­son school. That’s sig­nif­i­cant.”

Se­nior fa­cil­i­ties of­fi­cer David An­der­son said the $33.5-mil­lion school re­mains on bud­get de­spite de­lays in get­ting work un­der­way.

He said an as­ter­isk in a staff re­port flag­ging the Septem­ber 2019 open­ing date as be­ing at risk “is sim­ply our cap­i­tal folks be­ing our cap­i­tal folks” and he ex­pects to get the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion’s ap­proval for con­struc­tion in May.

An­der­son said staff con­tinue to work on fi­nal­iz­ing de­signs, in­clud­ing for a stormwa­ter re­ten­tion pond and the ex­ten­sion of Up­per Sher­man south of Ry­mal.

Those de­tails must be re­solved to sat­isfy zon­ing con­di­tions and al­low the board to take pos­ses­sion of the 30-acre prop­erty from owner Sher­mal Es­tates, which Danko said she ex­pects to hap­pen in early April. The board is swap­ping a 26-acre prop­erty it owns on the west Moun­tain as part of the deal.

A pre­lim­i­nary design for the 1,250-stu­dent school shows a three­storey build­ing fronting Up­per Sher­man. An ar­ti­fi­cial-turf play­ing field with a track, bleach­ers and light­ing are at the rear, while room for 390 park­ing spa­ces is set aside along the south­ern bound­ary.

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