Why some school trustees are considering building classrooms in condos
Published Thursday, February 13, 2014 7:17PM EST
Living in a condo can come with many perks: concierge service, a gym, and a party room. But what about a school?
Toronto's condo boom in hot housing neighbourhoods has shut out hundreds of students from schools within walking distance of their area, forcing some school trustees to consider the idea of building classrooms in condominiums.
"We are a big city. We don't have a lot of green space lying around but we need more schools so we really have to explore and think outside the box," vice-chair of the Toronto District School Board Mari Rutka told CTV Toronto.
The idea is one that has already been adopted in other high density cities such as New York and Tokyo, where the population is more than double that of Toronto.
But despite the population difference, some trustees say it's time to consider the idea. In the Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue West area, one of the densest in the city, more than 400 students were not able to attend McKee Public School due to over-enrollment.
"We are walking-distance to a school that we can't go to," mother Alisa Yampolsky told CTV Toronto last year. "It doesn't make sense at all."
Although the idea of carving out classroom spaces in condos and high-rise buildings may not be a traditional one, Rutka says it can work.
"You can put play spaces on roofs. You can do all sorts of things with stacked gyms," she said.
The idea, however, will require the approval from several levels of government, a process that could take at least 10 years, Rutka says.
But according to at least one TDSB official, the lack of classroom spaces in some Toronto neighbourhoods is so urgent, something needs to be done now.
"We need to look at some flexibility, some creativity in terms of how we organize our learning environments," TDSB chair Chris Bolton said.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness