School board considers offers for school property

(Updated)Months after Prince Philip Public School in Hamilton shut its doors for good, the future of the property is now in question. City officials were hoping to buy the property — and transform it into a multi-purpose community centre — something the community has been asking for. But according to the school board, the city will have to get in line.For the time being, the future of Prince Philip Public School in Hamilton won’t be in the hands of the city.The city received a letter early Monday from the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board notifying them that, at this time, they are not being considered as buyers for the property — something that clearly upset ward one councillor and mayoral candidate Brian McHattie: “I’m really outraged of the behaviour of the Hamilton District School Board but not notifying the ward councillor after having extensive meetings with community.”But according to Education Act 4-44, section 98 — when a board has a surplus of property, they must sell or lease it to 10 preferred government agencies in priority sequence.Jessica Brennan, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board: “We see who comes in and shows interest and then we must start with those who are higher ranked than others than that preferred agencies.”McMaster University, Mohawk College and other local school boards are on that list. Each agency has 90 days to submit an offer. That deadline expired last week on Monday.The city and residents hoped to transform the 2.2 hectare property into a recreation centre to better serve the community.Jessica Brennan: “It’s really up to that preferred agency. They are the ones that get first dibs if you will, then other players in the community.”The city of Hamilton ranks number 9 on the list. Ahead of them is McMaster University.There was a lot of speculation that McMaster was interested in the property mainly because of how close its main campus is to Prince Philip. But Brian McHattie says that’s not true: “I’ve spoke with McMaster University. They’ve told me they are not going to acquire the property. I’ve spoken to the English Catholic school board and they indicated they didn’t have an interest.”It’s not clear which agency the board is currently looking at, citing confidentiality. But they will have 30 days to negotiate a fair market value.On top of the list are 4 local district school boards. It’s not known if any of them submitted an offer. But there is a possibility the property could be used as a school once again. read more