Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
New Catholic school board building could cost $22 million-- report
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 21 Mar 2007, p. 12

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A new administrative building for the Halton Catholic District School Board could cost more than $22 million and the spending has already begun with a report created to research this costing $25,000. With the Halton Regional Campus Project no longer an option, the board voted on July 4 to direct staff to present alternative options for an administrative site, which Giacomo Corbacio, Superintendent, Facility Management Services, did at last week's meeting. The options report included structural ideas, by consultant Mekinda Snyder Architects Incorporated, that called for a site area of between 3.9 and 5.4 acres. The size of the property depends on the final height of the facility. Schematics and drawings for the proposed building, which included a four-storey version, were also included in the report. The expertise of consultants Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. were brought into the report to try and put a price tag on the board's endeavor. In every scenario they conducted the total capital and operating costs for the new building exceeded $22 million. Conflict erupted during the meeting when it was revealed that the information contained in the report had already cost $25,000 to compile. "I was somewhere between surprised and shocked that any money was being spent at this stage," said Burlington Trustee Bob Van de Vrande. With no decision being made as to what the facility will look like or where it will be located, Van de Vrande voiced concerns that the report has come too soon. Board Chair Al Bailey said the mistake lies with the trustees for not being specific enough in their resolution when they asked staff to present alternative options to solve the board's accommodation issues. "It might not be what everybody wants at this point in time, it was a general resolution, but I think that with the meetings that we'll be having we'll get it fine-tuned down to a direction that they'd like to see," he said. Last June the board voted against joining the Halton Regional Campus Project, a proposed government office intended to house not only the Catholic board headquarters, but offices for Halton Region, Halton Regional Police and the Halton District School Board, as well. Those who voted against involvement in the project cited everything from doubt in the venture's cost-saving ability to fears that sharing office space with non-Catholics would erode the board's Christian values. Despite the setback Van de Vrande said the reasons for moving operations out of the board's current facilities are as pressing as ever. "There are several facilities that need to be consolidated and brought under one roof. Economics dictates that it's much better to run one facility," he said. The poor condition of the buildings, particularly the Burlington facility, is also motivating efforts to move. "This facility is literally falling apart. It was raining on the inside of another one a month ago and staff have had to be relocated out of that," said Van de Vrande. "They're deteriorating right around staff and those are not acceptable working conditions." The board was to convene again yesterday (Tuesday) when they will look over the report in depth to determine where to go from there.

Lea, David
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Date of Publication:
21 Mar 2007
Personal Name(s):
Corbacio, Giacomo ; Van de Vrande, Bob ; Bailey, Al
Corporate Name(s):
Halton Catholic District School Board ; Mekinda Snyder Architects Incorporated ; Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. ; Burlington ; Halton ; Halton Regional Police ; Halton District School Board
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New Catholic school board building could cost $22 million-- report