Deadline looming on Harrow High School building

Filed under: Headline,IN THE NEWS |

harrow-high-tourby Fred Groves

The clock for the fate of Harrow High School continues to tick.
Earlier last week, prior to its regular meeting, Council met behind closed doors to listen to a report CAO Tracey Pillon-Abbs prepared.

She said the Town has asked for and received an appraisal from the Greater Essex District School Board regarding the Harrow High building and property that was vacated nearly a year ago.

“All negotiations will be held in closed sessions due to the level of confidentiality dealing with land purchases,” Pillon-Abbs said.

A few weeks ago, Council, municipal staff, and members of the public toured the school, which was built in the early 1950s. Since then, Council has indicated to the School Board an interested in purchasing.

“The appraisal has now been received. The Town has until May 23 to put in an offer,” Pillon-Abbs said.
The Town has received 15 letters-of-interest from sports-related groups to housing projects to be part of the future of the former school.

“They are just ideas being discussed,” she noted.

Councillor Sherry Bondy, who represents Harrow, said if the Town does purchase Harrow High, it’s imperative a plan is in place to ensure taxpayers won’t be on the hook financially.

“We need to do more investigation on viable community options. We have to dig a little deeper,” Bondy said.

The idea of turning the school into a ‘Community Hub,’ in which several different organizations are partners, still remains a possibility.

“After the closure of the high school, there’s always been pressure to turn it into a community hub.”

As far as what happens now, the Town can either except the Board’s price and buy the school, counter with an offer of its own, or decline on purchasing it, which would mean the Board would then have the option to put it on the public market.

And while the asking price is not being released, Bondy did state, “It was a predictable price. There was no sticker shock.”

Many of the students who attended Harrow High School now go to school in Kingsville.