SIMCOE COUNTY DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD
The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) will continue its search for property in New Tecumseth to replace Banting Memorial High School, as a result of the New Tecumseth council decision to decline the SCDSB’s proposal to build on the Banting Homestead property in Alliston.
Since 2015, the replacement of Banting Memorial High School has been a top capital priority for the SCDSB. In November 2021, the Ministry of Education approved $41.5 million in funding for a 1,288-pupil place replacement school. With the funding approval, SCDSB staff intensified efforts to secure the best site for a replacement school in New Tecumseth. Staff investigated sites that would not only accommodate the needs of today but allow for future growth and flexibility. As part of the site selection process SCDSB staff explored over 10 potential locations, including the possibility of rebuilding on the existing school site. After an extensive review and third-party consultation, the existing school site was deemed not suitable due to a number of factors including:
- Loss of programming and amenities for students during the construction phase
- Significant disruption to the community and neighbouring residents resulting from lengthy road closures, increased construction traffic, and parking restrictions
- Safety concerns related to accommodating over 1,500 students on an active construction site for multiple years
- Limited flexibility for design and future growth due to the small, irregular shape of the site
The Banting Homestead property was deemed by staff to be the best property in New Tecumseth for the following reasons:
- Property size and location
- Walkable and accessible to residential areas, with fewer traffic impacts as a result of bus transportation
- Servicing capacity and immediate availability
- A unique and special opportunity to partner with municipal counterparts and enhance the Sir Frederick Banting legacy
- The ability to obtain appropriate land use designations and zoning permissions
- Financial viability
Given that the Banting Homestead property is owned by the Town of New Tecumseth, staff presented to New Tecumseth town council in June 2023 with hopes that the proposal would be accepted by councillors. The presentation can be viewed on the Town of New Tecumseth website. Subsequently, at a council meeting in September 2023, the Town of New Tecumseth voted against the proposal and declined the request of the SCDSB to build the replacement school on the Banting Homestead property in Alliston.
“We were hopeful that the Town of New Tecumseth council would accept our proposal to build on the Banting Homestead property and recognize the potential for growth and partnerships,” said Jodi Lloyd, chairperson for the SCDSB. “When exploring development sites, we forecast 50 years out, and evaluate which properties present the greatest opportunity and flexibility while mitigating disruption to students and the community,” she added. “Unfortunately, this decision creates a setback in the planning and development process and potentially extends the timeline for a replacement Banting Memorial High School.”