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Community Vision Takes Shape at Burlington’s Robert Bateman High School Site

Burlington's Robert Bateman High School Site

If the new vision for the Robert Bateman High School site proceeds, it will be the largest community centre in the City of Burlington that would include a pool, gym, library, Brock University and more.

Earlier this month, the public was provided an early look at the community vision that is taking shape at the Robert Bateman High School site as a space for learning and active living. During the Nov. 15 Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services (EICS) Committee, Council was presented with proposed uses for the site. You can view the staff presentation and report here:

You can also watch a recording of the discussion at the committee meeting here.

The potential uses currently under study include (also see screen captures below):

  • retaining the city pool;
  • moving and expanding the Appleby branch of the Burlington Public Library; and
  • creating a new triple gym for community use.

These uses alone would occupy a 79,000-square-foot space of the total property that would make it the largest community centre in the city. Tansley Woods is currently the city’s largest community centre at 69,000 sq. ft., and also houses a pool, gyms, community meeting rooms and a library.

Given the significant size of the school at 212,000 sq. ft., additional community users can be accommodated including:

  • Brock University’s Faculty of Education — this partnership had previously been announced in October 2020;
  • Techplace, Burlington’s business and technology innovator; and
  • Halton District School Board’s adult education program, moving from General Brock location on New Street, and retaining use of the shops.

There would still be space left for additional community uses, or for partners to occupy.

This will be a significant achievement benefitting the community and people across the city, with access to new community space, and with additional community uses that will also benefit residents through the partner organizations that are looking to take space on the site.

Council is also aware that not proceeding with this opportunity to acquire and this vision for an enhanced use of this site could mean foregoing an opportunity to create and improve an exciting community hub that might not be available for such uses in the future — at a time when our City and the Greater Toronto Area is growing and these kinds of community assets are already in demand and will be needed even more by Burlington residents in the coming years.

The former high school closed in June 2020 and was declared surplus by the Halton District School Board (HDSB). The City of Burlington declared an interest in purchasing the site for a range of uses beneficial to the community and is the only bidder. The City expects to finalize details of the purchase and the users over the next few months. (See ‘Next Steps’ timeline below).

This matter represents a major land purchase for the City. On Dec. 6, 2021, Burlington Council will receive an update staff report in closed session along with a recommend offer to purchase that must be submitted to the HDSB by mid-December. We will continue to provide updates and consult with Burlington residents and adjacent communities as planning concepts are developed.

Next Steps:

  • Reports
    • Dec. 6 – Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk & Accountability (CSSRA) Committee Closed Session
    • Q1 2022 – Final Business Plan
  • Offers to be submitted mid-December
  • Due Diligence
    • Completion of due diligence/additional due diligence studies
    • Community engagement – process/timing subject to confirmation

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3 thoughts on “Community Vision Takes Shape at Burlington’s Robert Bateman High School Site”

  1. I am very disappointed at the lack of authentic community engagement – this plan concept is excellent but as a resident in Ward 5 – finding out via social media is disappointing – we live here / pay taxes and seeing most of the discussion in closed session – should not have my councillor been involved

    1. Hi Tim, this is John Bkila, the Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist. This item was part of the public agenda at the Nov. 15 Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services (EICS) Committee meeting where staff gave a presentation and Council discussed the staff report in open session. Links to the staff report, presentation and discussion at committee are provided in the Mayor’s blog post.

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A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600