As­so­ci­ated He­brew Schools de­cide on fu­ture

Kamin branch will move to Finch, while board nets 20 bids on the prop­erty

Thornhill Post - - News - by Jes­sica Wei

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.

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