Board seeks public input on ed. centre
The Hamilton Spectator
(Dec 11, 2007)
Hamilton's public school board last night asked staff to make a business case for a one-building option for a new education centre.
But, instead of endorsing one of seven options up for debate, they left the door open for input from public delegations on the matter Jan. 10 and city hall's thoughts on the matter.
Last night, nearly all of the debate on options for 100 Main St. W. was done in a private session. But when trustees emerged, they let slip that staff prefer "the $33-million option" and that it is for a new building.
Among the options on the table, the cheapest was to have the board headquarters leave downtown for a new, $33-million building on the Mountain.
The board sees itself at a crossroads, with old buildings in need of repair, and too many administrative staff to fit in 100 Main St. W. Staff last night were looking for permission to develop a plan for their preferred option: a single building, with a downtown presence. It doesn't imply the building will be built downtown.
Previously, board director of education Chris Spence raised the idea of erecting a kiosk or storefront run by the board downtown, but a new building elsewhere.
Trustee Laura Peddle got board support to ask staff to amend the wording of their recommendation: instead of asking them to research their favourite option, she wants them to present a business case for their preference, but also summarize other options available.
The original four options brought forward by staff are: renovate all seven buildings; build one new building elsewhere; build two buildings, one downtown, one elsewhere; or renovate and expand 100 Main St. W.
This fall, trustees asked for two variations, and Spence, absent last night, raised the idea of a storefront downtown presence.
Peddle said staff can't "expect success" if all they bring forward at meetings is their favourite option, without explaining why other options are being discarded.
Interim superintendent of business Dennis Webb said allowing staff to research an option doesn't bind the board to only one option, but lets staff approach the Ministry of Education for financial advice.
If you want to be a delegation to the special committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 10 at 5:30 p.m., direct requests to Chris Spence via e-mail at email@example.com