BCI to Central Tech 2020

Slated to close in September 2020

OPINION

More details were released at a public meeting held by the Bloor Collegiate Institute’s parent council on May 28 about the re-location of BCI.

The school, as a whole will move to facilities to the underused Central Technical Institute at Bathurst and Harbord with classes commencing Sept. 2020. (Note: previous reports here and elsewhere indicated the move was to commence in Sept. 2019. They were incorrect.)

There will be physical and institutional separation between the two institutions despite co-existing in the same building complex: possible separate entrances and facilities for BCI students and CT students; both schools will maintain separate principals and management.

The move is expected to last two school-years. There is a possibility the school could move to its new building early if it is completed on schedule. The old Brockton High School is presently being torn down before the start of construction of the new BCI.

There was concern expressed by students and parents of opposition to a move to Central Tech. Some indicated they would not have attended BCI or will move to other schools if the move is made.

BCI Principal Susana Arnott agreed the situation was “difficulty” but said she was happy with the CT option since it was on a subway line and was local so staff already were familiar with one another. TDSB superintendent Mike Gallagher said: Don’t think this will be easy” but promised separation of facilities.

We learned more about the reasons for the move and some of the politics behind it:

  • After the 2017 sale of the school lands at BCI, Brockton High School was designated as the new site of BCI. The school was slated for what is called a “deep retrofit” to bring it up to modern standards
  • In the spring of 2017 it was determined a “deep retrofit” would not meet the needs of a new BCI. The TDSB approved a new building and about the same time a Request for Proposals was issued.
  • In the fall of 2018 the TDSB, through its real estate arm the Toronto Lands Corporation, asked for an extension to the date they were to turnover the existing BCI building to purchasers Capital Developments et al. A six-month extension was granted by Capital. Originally the school properties sold in the $120 million sale were to be turned over the developers in July 2020.

With the removal from the school of our students slated for 2020, the development could be approved in October by City Council and construction could commence in 2020.

This summer and early fall might be our last opportunity to influence a massive development that does not meet out community’s needs. Talk to your elected representatives.

BBBD has, in a series of meetings with our city councillor, our MPP and the developers, proposed that the first six floors of one of the four condo towers be designated for affordable housing.

The BBBD steering committee is also developing a proposal for the “Hub” a type of community centre with 30,000 sq. ft. In comparison, the same amount of public space is allocated just for a vegetable market at the Bloor/Bathurst development of Mirvish Village. There are only 800 condo units in that development compared to 2,000 in the Bloor/Dufferin School Lands.

—Joe McAllister

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