Davisville Redevelopment Updates

March 2013: (Taken from March 8, 2013 School Newsletter)

We are still waiting for Ministry of Education approval for our Redevelopment Project, but the BLU has started to come together with SERA, OPA, Fauntra and our Trustee to make sure we are on track.

The ministry Special Advisory Team, who is now supporting the TDSB operations area, has informed us that the prerequisite for Ministry of Education approval of TDSB Redevelopment Projects was the board approval of our capital deficit reduction plan. That was to happen at a Special Board Meeting that was unfortunately postponed.

As a result, ministry approval to proceed to the next stage for the Davisville redevelopment project (after Ministry of Education approval of the space template, the TDSB will move forward with a developer proposal call to select/approve a development partner) will not be forthcoming until mid-April at the earliest.

December 2012: Board approval received on 12-12-12 to move forward! Download document here.

August 2012: (Taken from Davisville Parents website)

June 2012: As of June 28, 2012, the TDSB has revised the proposed redevelopment of the Davisville school site. The new proposal includes a lower maximum building height (12 storeys) and less residential density, which means fewer condos.

Redevelopment FAQ's

1. What is the Davisville Redevelopment Project all about?
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB or Board) has begun a process to explore options for redeveloping the Davisville school site. Please note: the 2010 Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) report recommended that a school presence be maintained on the Davisville site to accommodate the programs as defined by the ARC — the Board of Trustees voted in favour of that recommendation on June 23, 2010.

2. What did the ARC say?
The ARC recommended all five schools in the review (Davisville, Eglinton, Hodgson, Maurice Cody & Spectrum) should remain open with programming as defined by the ARC. It also recommended appropriate supports be added to the schools to meet projected enrolments, and that reasonable capital investment be provided to ensure enhanced programming for all students. For more information, please click on Davisville ARC.

3. Why does Davisville need a new school?
The community is growing and with this comes increased enrolment pressures. The existing school building and neighbouring schools cannot accommodate this growth. The current Davisville building has a capacity of 384 students and contains a large number of smaller classrooms built for the Metro Toronto School for the Deaf (MTSD). In order to accommodate the program as defined by the ARC and approved by the Board (English JK to Grade 6, French Immersion SK to Grade 6 and Spectrum Alternative School Grades 7 and 8), a larger Davisville school with appropriate sized classrooms is necessary. Otherwise, the programs provided at the school will need to be adjusted. A new school will also significantly improve the quality of all learning spaces and eliminate the Davisville school site’s deferred maintenance backlog of $8.3M (including roof, ceiling and foundation repairs).

4. How will the Davisville Redevelopment Project benefit the community?
First and foremost, the new school will provide Davisville‐area children with a model school for 21st century learning, equipping them with the tools they need to reach their full potential. The broader community can also look forward to many benefits, including a much‐improved playground space, an artificial turf playing field for year‐round use, permitted use of the gymnasium during non‐school hours, as well as other benefits which will be identified as the project moves forward.

5. How will the project be funded?
In order to meet the demands of growing communities, like Davisville, TDSB has embarked on a city‐wide program to rebuild schools through a new funding strategy. This strategy is based on redeveloping a portion of school lands and partnering with a development partner to create a mixed use site (new school + residential + open space). Revenue generated from the residential development will support the Board’s Capital Building Program, which funds all TDSB capital projects.

6. Why not renovate the existing school?
The TDSB is faced with serious funding shortfalls and must look to a new funding strategy, as described in question #5, to meet the needs of growing communities, such as Davisville.

7. How was the proposed master plan developed?
The Board asked staff (through the Local School Community Design Team‐ LSCDT) to explore delivering the ARC’s approved program at Davisville Public School through a new building funded by redevelopment of the school site. The parameters that guide the redevelopment project (school size, program, funded by residential development) are set by the Board as this is a school board process. The LSCDT looked at a comprehensive range of options assisted by the school, local ratepayers and architects and planners. The Board process engages the local school community to ensure that we have their input and feedback to design a better school. We engage with the larger community (through local resident and ratepayer associations) so that their voice can be heard and reflected early in the design process, as we position the new school and the residential development that will fund it in their community.

8. What is the proposed master plan for the Davisville site?
The following was developed and agreed to by the Local School Community Design Team in May 2012:

  • 3‐storey integrated school and residential development on Davisville Avenue;
  • Mid‐rise residential development (7‐12 storeys) along Davisville Avenue;
  • Playground, field and open space along Millwood Road;
  • School‐only access lane along east edge of the site with underground school parking; and
  • A key requirement in the plan is to have the current school remain operational during the entire build.

9. Will the project require an Official Plan Amendment (OPA) and Rezoning?
Yes ‐ The Board and the LSCDT understands clearly that an Official Plan Amendment (OPA) and Rezoning will be required as part of the City of Toronto’s approvals process. From the work of the LSCDT we believe that the Davisville school site is large enough to accommodate the residential development that is required to help fund the project, but this is not currently consistent with the City’s Official Plan that guides the growth and development in the City. It currently designates the Davisville site a Neighbourhood Area, limiting the site to low‐rise residential uses.

10. When will construction start? What will happen to students during construction?
The project is still in the beginning stages and is at least four years away from breaking ground on the site — Toronto District School Board, Ministry of Education, and City of Toronto approvals including OPA, Rezoning approvals, etc. are still required. The plan approved by the LSCDT requires that the TDSB keep students in the current school building during construction. The TDSB will work closely with the principal and parent community to ensure student safety during the construction and program options for outdoor activities. The plan is to be able to move students directly from the old school into the new school. It should be noted that portables may be needed to accommodate increased enrolment before the new school opens. Once the new school is built, the old school will be demolished and the new playground, field and school grounds will be completed.

11. What are the next steps?

  • Following Board approval and Ministry of Education approval of the proposed master plan, the TDSB would move forward with a developer proposal call to select/approve a development partner (this may take several months);
  • Request For Proposals (RFP) will go out to the development industry;
  • Board approval of development partner;
  • Formation of school and residential design teams with more opportunities for consultation with full school community; vote taken for unanimous support of the school design when appropriate;
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by school council (and residents associations) when they are ready to sign;
  • Upon approval, Joint Official Plan Amendment (OPA) and re‐zoning submission to the City. At this point the City process for land use takes over with additional community and public consultation built in; and
  • If City approval is obtained, construction starts for the school and residential development.

12. What is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) all about?
The MOU commits the TDSB to specific conditions which gives the local school community certainty and ensures the school and community’s needs are understood and realized in the TDSB Davisville Redevelopment project.

Background

As we note on our main redevelopment page, there are two main factors driving the redevelopment process now underway for the Davisville school site: The growing enrollment that our existing school building cannot serve and the land value of the existing school site.

To place the redevelopment situation in more context, there are a few realities that the Toronto District School Board is currently dealing with:

  • The Board needs much more money for capital projects than it currently has available, so many projects, including major maintenance at schools throughout the TDSB, have been delayed
  • The Province of Ontario’s funding formula has played a role in this problem, as it provides capital funding based on average enrollment across the entire city
  • This averaging does not serve the needs of Toronto well because it does not consider that there are some areas of Toronto with substantial growth in enrollment, while other areas have substantial decline
  • Both building and closing schools takes time, but areas that need more school capacity built cannot wait for the average enrollment across the city to fall in line with the provincial formula

There are also considerations in regard to enrollment pressures that make redeveloping the Davisville school site worth considering:

  • The student population in the Davisville area is growing and the school does not have the room to house the expected growth, so additional school capacity is needed
  • Student populations in all neighbourhoods surrounding Davisville are also growing and those schools are also full or already over capacity, so there is no other school that can accommodate growth in the Davisville school population. In other words, redrawing boundaries will not fix this capacity problem

Here is some additional context on the land value of our school site:

  • The Davisville school site is a large piece of land, very close to a subway station, which means the school land has substantial value and is attractive for redevelopment
  • The western edge of the school property borders land along Yonge St. This may be another factor that makes a redevelopment project possible financially
  • Redeveloping the school site is intended to result in extra funds, left over after redevelopment, for other capital projects in the TDSB. These funds would come from selling part of the current school property

Other significant factors in the process are the age of the existing building and the high operating costs of the current building. The time is coming for major renovation or replacement of the current building. A new building would cost substantially less to operate than the current one, which makes it financially responsible to redevelop sooner than would happen based solely on the age and condition of the building.

Please note as well that the Toronto District School Board has committed to keeping a school on the Davisville site.

During the 2009-2010 school year, the TDSB conducted an Accommodation Review Committee process in the Davisville-Yonge area. The ARC process examined the needs and facilities available at our school as well as at Eglinton Junior Public School, Hodgson Senior Public School, Maurice Cody Junior Public School and Spectrum Alternative Senior School, which was located in the Eglinton Jr PS school building at the time of the ARC process. Spectrum was relocated to the Davisville school building, beginning classes in the Davisville building in September 2011.

We have more information on the ARC process and the results of it, on our Davisville-Yonge ARC page.