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SCDSB puts GA Wright Field in play for Banting rebuild

Posted November 28, 2017

Brian Jeffs, Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) Superintendent of Business and Facilities said last night if the Ministry of Education announces money for a new Banting Memorial High School (BMHS) early in the new year, it will be built on GA Wright Field.

"In the event we do receive funding in January or February for a replacement school, we need to make a decision about location," Mr. Jeffs told council. "My feeling at this point, in the absence of a hub partner, GA Wright becomes the most preferred location for construction of a new school."

Mr. Jeffs said they haven't abandoned the community hub concept and/or Banting homestead as a site option, but are preparing for a scenario without it. He said Georgian College remains interested in a partnership, but will "wait and engage in a more indepth conversation once we receive funding for a new school."

"We've had ongoing discussions and conversations with a group of interested hub partners for the past 15 months. These conversations have been productive and helpful in establishing the latest business case that the school board submitted to the Ministry as part of our capital priroties submission on Sept 8th," said Mr. Jeffs. "Its been our belief all along that the most opportune case for a BMHS replacement school had to include a community hub - with the Town of New Tecumseth, Simcoe Muskoka YMCA, and Georgian College at the table for the 15 month period."

He said if the Board is passed over, it's expected to be at least a year before the next round of capital priorities submissions because of the provincial, municipal, and school board elections in 2018.

"Given the likely need for a lead hub partner in order to get funding for a replacement school, I've come to the conclusion this council is not likely to commit on a hub facility, and that decision will be left to a new council in a year's time or longer. And given the timing of the next municipal election next fall, making such a community commitment an election issue, isn't in anyone's best interest."

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri