Broadview school rebuild raises heritage concerns

By Neil McKinnon –

About 80 residents gathered in Broadview Public School’s gymnasium on Nov. 6 to hear presentations about

About 80 residents gathered in Broadview Public School’s gymnasium on Nov. 6 to hear presentations about Ottawa Carleton District School Board’s design for the new school.

City planners and Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) representatives discussed what a new and revamped Broadview Public School could look like and what it would add to the neighbourhood. Architect Zofia Jurewicz of Edward J. Cuhaci Associates Architects Inc. was also among the presenters.

The proposal for the new Broadview Public School has it facing Dovercourt Ave. instead of Broadview. The location of the new school will allow the new building to be constructed while the existing school building is occupied
The proposal for the new Broadview Public School has it facing Dovercourt Ave. instead of Broadview. The location of the new school will allow the new building to be constructed while the existing school building is occupied

The new two-storey building is designed to “support the 21st century learning,” and feature classroom spaces that enhance multiple ways of learning and use technology as a means to “collaborate, communicate, and learn.” Some examples of this include larger areas for group work and smaller computer stations for focused individual learning.

Sustainability is a big feature of the new design. The proposed school would be designed to LEED standards and support a certified ecoschools program. The plan also extends past classroom walls.

“We want to ensure the circulation of pedestrians and vehicles is resolved. The new design will make it safe for pedestrians and vehicles alike, including bikes,” says Jurewicz.

Other proposed features include a rock garden, fruit tree orchards and a large bicycle parking area off of Denbury Ave.

One concern expressed by many residents in attendance is whether Broadview’s heritage element could be saved. City heritage planner Leslie Collins said a request to see if Broadview meets heritage criterion is currently under review.

Built in 1927, Broadview has had many additions to meet the demands of the growing population. OCDSB facilities manager Peter Wright said whatever additions do not meet heritage requirements will be demolished.

For Windermere Avenue resident and local historian David Jeanes, some of the reasons for keeping Broadview’s heritage characteristics are personal ones. A forty-year resident of the area, all his children attended Broadview.

“Broadview is the only school to have survived from when the Westboro district was responsible for building its own schools. Now is our last chance to see if the characteristics can be saved,” says Jeanes.

“When you have the opportunity to keep the heritage element you should do it,” said one resident at the presentation.

Earlier this year, OCDSB received $15.4 million funding to construct a new school. Wright said renovation costs to keep the tower – a defining feature of the original part of the building by the school’s main entrance – means project delays and less greenspace in the end. It would also mean the renovation could cost an additional $4-5 million.

“Also, if we decide to renovate we would need to move the whole school community while renovations happen. That could take two years,” says Wright.

“We wanted a new school for years. Now we’re being told keeping the heritage will cost $20 million to renovate? When it comes to thinking about keeping heritage over safety as parents our choices are with our kids,” says Broadview parent Stephanie Craze.

Residents were also concerned about how the new school is only slated to accommodate 782 students.

“Did you know five years ago the area would be intensified so much? [Broadview] is already at 900 kids. Why aren’t you building to accommodate more for that reason?” asked local resident Anne Mabee.

Wright explained that OCDSB was accommodating for projected enrollment. Most schools have portables, he explained. If need be in the future they will build separately funded additions to the school.

“We understand your concern. Just about every other school has a portable,” says Wright.

While Broadview’s site plan application process can take four to six months, construction is planned to begin next spring or early summer. According to the OCDSB it will take approximately one year to build the school and have it ready for occupancy in September 2016. At that point, the demolition phase will commence and reinstatement of the grounds would be complete by the summer of 2017.

For site plans, designs and frequently asked questions, visit OCDSB’s website at ocdsb.ca/sch/Pages/Broadview.aspx.

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