Hello I’m Dave Gordon , my daughter is currently finishing Grade 8 in Calvin Park Public School. She will enroll in KCVI next year. We live downtown and are newcomers to Kingston, since we have only been here 18 years. For my day job, I lead the urban planning school at Queen’s and I have been advising a group called Save Kingston City Schools about community impacts of the proposed closures.
I was delighted that there was a lot of public support at the last two public meetings for the idea of building community partnerships keep all three high schools open. Last week, we heard about partnerships between Catholic and public schools; and creating community hubs by combining schools with seniors’ centres, community centres; daycare, pools, housing, and health clinics. Many of these partnerships ideas would be appropriate for either LCVI or QECVI. I understand there will be more about a health clinic in a few minutes. We showed lots of concrete examples of these partnerships, not just in the big cities, but in medium-sized places like Fredericton, London, Saskatoon, Brantford and Victoria. Tonight, I’ll present some more ideas about partnerships, demographic changes and good examples of renovating high schools.
Kingston needs to focus on making partnerships to help make its schools into community hubs. This is the new Fredericton Public Library branch in Nashwaaksis school. I hate the architecture, but love the way the library is built into the school, with separate entrances. Now, I love the new Calvin Park Public Library building, but what a pity the new library isn’t at Calvin Park or LCVI! (my daughter studies there after school – but must cross Sir JAM Boulevard, one of Kingston’s busiest and fastest roads…) Real opportunity for Kingscourt Public Library and QECVI to collaborate when it is time for that branch to be renewed, with excellent ties to QE’s great literacy and reading programs.
And if we wanted to build track and field facilities to support a high performance athletics program like QECVI, Fredericton and Brockville would be good examples. Fredericton's municipal field house was built at Nashwaaksis Middle School. Locally, there is Thousand Islands Secondary School in Brockville The accomplishments of TISS’ elite track and field program have inspired the community to construct a $1.5 million athletic centre at the school that was the site of the Ontario provincial championships last week. Kingston recently decided to build a track - what an opportunity this should have been for QECVI and its high performance sports centre. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brockville,_Ontario
But instead, what did we do ?- The Invista Centre, in an industrial park, on the extreme western edge of the city. Basically impossible to get to without a car. Not a school in sight, and lacking the facilities to host the regional or provincial championships. This should have been built in a more central location with public transit, like LCVI, or especially at QECVI to support its special high performance sports program. But someday Kingston will want to build a fieldhouse like Fredericton or another artificial turf field, and I think they should go on the land behind QECVI to reinforce its athletic centre program. And how about a partnership with the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy to educate athletic trainers?
Another important partnership area is between schools and employers. This has been significantly changed in the past decades. Large employment clusters are not only sources of part-time jobs for students, they are also sources of students for the schools. Here is how this fundamental shift occurred: Remember the 1950s, when many of our current schools were built? What’s missing from the picture from Leave it to Beaver times? First, there are only two kids – Wally and the Beaver must have been out playing baseball. Today, the situation is completely different for this young couple. If they own that new suburban house behind them, then almost certainly both of the parents are working. And if they are lucky, the young girl is in workplace daycare and the older one is in school within a few blocks of her parents’ jobs. We have heard from other parents about how important schools near workplaces are for working families, especially single parents, who make up 27% of families with children in Kingston. (and typically have more kids) Extra curricular activities and the inevitable family emergencies are almost impossible to deal with when the parents work downtown and the kids are in a suburban or rural school. Statistics Canada 2006 Census: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil121c-eng.htm And the single parent families have more children (1.6 for female lone parents vs. 1.2 for couples) http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil50g-eng.htm
This is one reason why the downtown schools are full, even as the enrollment across the city has declined. These downtown schools also serve four of the region’s five largest employers: Downtown (BIA has said it wants schools to remain open) Queen’s (which has said it wants KCVI to remain open) KGH – staff have made deputations requesting the schools remain open HDH - staff have made deputations requesting the schools remain open Other cities, such as Minneapolis, are building new schools downtown to serve working families and help attract downtown residents. So when considering the community impacts of closing schools in the 21 st century, we believe that the impact on employers should be considered, and that employees within easy walking distance of the school should be considered similar to residents.
And here is some more good news – we don’t have to demolish or even close the downtown high school for the Board to obtain substantial revenues from the redevelopment of its lands. This sketch shows how underutilized land on Alfred Street could accommodate two new mid-rise apartment buildings, some surface parking and a new parkette. This is a real possibility - Kingston developers have already expressed interest in bidding on these parcels, should the Board decide to make them available by sale or lease. There are great examples of the RFP process to get this sort of public-private partnership going; ---------------------------- The best practice would be for the LDSB would identify the surplus land and negotiate a plan for new buildings with the City. That way the Board gets all the value from any rezoning and the neighbours have bought in. Then the Board issues an open request for proposals (RFP) for redevelopment of the parcels in accordance with the pre-approved design guidelines. A public and competitive process means that the Board will get the best return – it could be a long term lease or a sale. Queen’s SURP is inviting the national expert on this process to Kingston for September. http://www.urbanstrategies.com/index.php/team/partners/lewinberg/
These seems to be a general assumption that it is inevitable that the older schools in the city need to be demolished or closed. These rumours may have emerged because of unfortunate recent experiences in Belleville and Peterborough. Bellville Collegiate was demolished in 2007. It had stood vacant and derelict since 1996 while community argued about its use. All that is left is the cornerstone and time capsule on the former site, now a field near downtown. Belleville’s downtown is now in decline. ---------------------------------------------------- Belleville Collegiate Institute and Vocational School On site since the 19 th century Rebuilt 1927 Demolished 2007; Video of demolition: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0vUsqq1Rig
And the very sad story unfolding in Peterborough… Peterborough Collegiate is scheduled for closure later this month, despite huge outpouring of support from the downtown. The community has been tearing itself apart for the past year, following a PARC that started a year before us. Can Kingston avoid this terrible process? The advice from Peterborough is that we can, if we focus on developing partnerships now, rather than after the PARC makes its recommendation and the Board makes a decision. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School pcvs.kprdsb.ca/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peterborough_Collegiate_and_Vocational_School Founded 1827 (second oldest in Ontario after KCVI) On site and in the same building since 1907 Scheduled for closure in June 2012 Enrollment : 950 300 in Integrated Arts Program In September 2011, the KPRD School Board voted to close PCVS despite high enrollment and a PARC recommendation that it remain open Adversarial and combative PARC process; see TV ad below; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G7mBJNRQ-A Court cases; numerous protests in Peterborough and Queen’s Park http://peterboroughneedspcvs.com/ Strong community support to keep PCVS open; Rick Mercer did his rant on PCVS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=navejFCDCSo&feature=player_embedded http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=TiF8y4xU1UM Concern about the effects of the PCVS closure on the Peterborough downtown, similar to Kingston: Excellent video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIiyITwFn_o
And we don’t have to tear these historic buildings down to make great schools in the 21 st century. Last week I showed my Dad’s old high school, Ottawa’s Lisgar Collegiate in downtown Ottawa, and London Central. Both have been recently renovated and act as magnet schools for their regions. But skeptics might say, London is a bigger place than Kingston; we are doomed to follow Belleville’s example. ------------- London Central Secondary School http://www.tvdsb.ca/Central.cfm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Central_Secondary_School Enrollment 1015 in 2011-12 On its present site since 1877; Rebuilt after fire in 1922 Enlarged in 1962-68 Renovated 1995-96 One of the strongest public high schools in Canada; Excellent arts and outstanding music programs Ranked top high school in Ontario in 2010; 4/727 in 2012
So consider Brockville Collegiate, renovated in 2009 and now attracting students from all over its region. Beautifully restored – look – new windows… ---------------------------------------------- Great example of recent renewal: Brockville Collegiate Institute: http://www.ucdsb.on.ca/school/bci/Pages/default.aspx http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brockville_Collegiate_Institute Enrolment: about 558 in 2011 350 students bussed in Programs: French Immersion IB Co-op education Arts Athletics – good football and rowing programs Excellent academic reputation; High scores in provincial tests (100% in 2007) Ranked 30/693 in Ontario in 2008 (better than any Kingston school), currently 79 / 727 On present site since 1889 Burned and rebuilt 1929-31 Building beautifully restored by UCDSB in 2008 (New windows!) Image attached above Virtual tour: http://www.ucdsb.on.ca/school/bci/aboutus/Pages/BCIVirtualTour.aspx So why can tiny Brockville (2011 pop 22,000) rehabilitate its downtown collegiate and Kingston cannot?
Brockville is an excellent example of a small high school with 560 students in 2011 It has: French Immersion IB Co-op education Arts (taking advantage of its historic auditorium) Athletics – good football and rowing programs – their website brags about how they recently defeated the mighty Thousand Island Pirates And all this without the advantages of being located on the edge of a university. So why can tiny Brockville (2011 pop 22,000) renovate its downtown high school and Kingston cannot? I don’t see any reason… ----------------------------------------------------------- Enrolment: about 558 in 2011 350 students bussed in Programs: French Immersion IB Co-op education Arts Athletics – good football and rowing programs Excellent academic reputation; High scores in provincial tests (100% in 2007) Ranked 30/693 in Ontario in 2008 (better than any Kingston school), currently 79 / 727 On present site since 1889 Burned and rebuilt 1929-31 Building beautifully restored by UCDSB in 2008 (New windows!) Image attached above Virtual tour: http://www.ucdsb.on.ca/school/bci/aboutus/Pages/BCIVirtualTour.aspx
We don’t have to follow the heart-breaking conflicts like the closing of Peterborough Collegiate next week, which is tearing that community apart, or the demolition of Belleville Collegiate, which contributed to the decline their downtown. We can follow the example of places like Brockville, London, Brantford, and Fredericton to develop partnerships to keep our high schools open as community hubs. As next step, my planning school will partner with community organisations to bring to Kingston the Canadian guru of the housing partnerships, the architect-planner Frank Lewinberg. Mr. Lewinberg has generously agreed to join us in early September and share his experience on a pro-bono basis. Thank you for your attention and I would be pleased to answer any questions either in person tonight or by e-mail.
1. More Great SchoolPartnerships forKingstonDavid GordonSave Kingston City Schools
2. Partnerships last week Walter Gretzky PS/ St. Basil Catholic• Catholic / Public School Brantford• School / Seniors Centre• School/ Community Centre• School / Daycare• School / Pool• Schools / Housing• School / University• School / Community Hub• School/ Health Clinic St. Mary Community School, Saskatoon
3. Calvin Park Public LibraryNashwaaksis School & Public Library Kingscourt Public LibrarySchool /Library:Fredericton vs. Kingston
4. Nashwaaksis Middle School & Thousand Islands Secondary SchoolFredericton Field House BellevilleSchool and Track Centre:Fredericton & Brockville
5. Track Centre: Kingston
6. The 1950s The 21st CenturyDemographic Changes:School & Employer
7. Large Employers:•Downtown CBD•Queen’s•KGH•HDH•Empire Life CBDClosed schoolsSchools threatened with HDHclosure ELSchools &Employers
9. Demolished 2007Belleville Collegiate I &VS
10. Founded 1827; Built 1907Peterborough CVS
11. Lisgar Collegiate, Ottawa London Central SS1874 / 1920 1877 / 1922Renovated High Schools