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Hamilton Partners Unite to Advance the Downtown Community Hub Vision

Posted on Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) Trustees celebrate the approval of six capital partners who have joined together in partnership to explore a bold downtown community hub hosted on the Board’s Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School site.

The City of Hamilton, Hamilton Community Foundation, Hamilton East Kiwanis Non-Profit Home Inc., HWDSB, Hamilton Health Sciences and the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford have signed memorandums of understanding that will see the parties work together to explore and design a community hub in downtown Hamilton.

According to Todd White, Chair of the Board: “Following the 2012 decision to close Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School, our current Board of Trustees was faced with a difficult decision regarding the future of this eight-acre site in our downtown core. Rather than abandoning our presence, our Board was determined to reinvest and imagine a greater potential for the area. Through consultation with partners and with community feedback, Trustees have uncovered a vision that didn’t seem possible a few short years ago.”

Together, the six partners are committed to exploring a central location, centered around a K-8 elementary school, for residents to access a range of identified programs and services such as education, social services, recreation, housing and health-related services.

Through the Board of Trustee’s approval on December 4, 2017, HWDSB will move into the next phase of collaborative development with these partners. The project, contingent on Ministry of Education approval for a new elementary school, will move forward with plans to create an integrated service model for the community. In the next six months, HWDSB will finalize capital requirements and the services each will offer.

“Our vision for a community hub in downtown Hamilton begins with a focus on the child’s education,” said Manny Figueiredo, Director of Education. “Student learning and achievement is enhanced when families can access the necessary services that support their well-being. We thank the partners for their continued collaboration and support in providing greater access to programs and services that meet the needs of families.”

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BACKGROUNDER

The Downtown Community Hub Gains Momentum

As the host partner, HWDSB believes that creating a community hub on the Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School site will benefit students, their families and the broader community.

Pupil Accommodation Review:
On June 5, 2017, the Board made the final decision on the West Hamilton City Pupil Accommodation Review. The following are three of six recommendations related to the community hub initiative:

  • That Hess and Strathcona close pending Ministry of Education funding for HWDSB’s portion of the Community Hub project.
  • That HWDSB seek partnerships to redevelop the Sir John A. Macdonald site as a community hub centred around a new JK‐8 elementary school.
  • That a community hub proposal be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval no later than December 2017.

Capital Submission to the Ministry:
On September 8, 2017, staff submitted for a new school, assessment centre and alternative education space to the Ministry of Education through the Request for Capital Priorities Project Funding Submission. The request seeks $30.75 million in funding for the Board’s portion of the community hub. The components include:

  • a 600-pupil place replacement elementary school for Hess and Strathcona
  • a 3-room child care facility
  • a Child and Family Centre
  • space for the relocation of HWDSB Assessment Centre and Alternative Education

Public Consultation:
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board held six public consultations meeting with more than 130 members of the community, students and community agencies.

Media Contact:
Shawn McKillop, APR
Manager, Communications and Community Engagement
Cell: 905.515.6227 Email: smckillo@hwdsb.on.ca

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