Councillor Jason Farr plans to introduce a motion for Council to call on the Board of Education to locate their offices in a proposed second tower built on the south side of City Hall.
By Ryan McGreal
Published January 27, 2012
At the January 25, 2012 Council meeting, Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr introduced a notice of motion that would call on the city to propose accommodating the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board in a second tower built on the City Hall property.
A notice of motion means the Councillor who issued it plans to introduce the motion itself at a subsequent meeting. According to Councillor Farr in an email to RTH, "The intention would be to have it come to the floor as a motion at a near-future meeting".
Under Farr's motion, Council would direct staff "to formally propose the City Hall second tower site for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board for a nominal long-term land lease fee".
Farr notes that City staff have "made efforts in appealing to the Board of Education in the past year to contemplate staying in the downtown." He hopes that the School Board will be more interested in an offer to remain downtown if it comes directly from Council.
Farr does not yet have any cost estimates for the proposal. "When and if approved," he writes, "staff will then address" the matter of cost.
The feasibility of this proposal hinges to a large extent on whether footings were poured for a second tower when City Hall was built in 1960. Farr is currently investigating the status of the footings.
Architect Stanley Roscoe designed City Hall so that a second tower could be built to the south of the current tower to accommodate future growth in the size of the City payroll.
It is generally assumed that the footings for that tower are in place, but RTH has not yet obtained confirmation on this.
According to Graham Crawford of History+Heritage, who interviewed Roscoe before the architect died in August 2010:
I did interview Stan a few years back at City Hall. I asked him about his expansion plans for City Hall and he assured me that the foundations had been poured for a tower at the south end of the building.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the original plans for the building or can otherwise verify whether the footings were poured is invited to let us know, either in the comments or via email.
Following is the full text of the notice of motion:
CITY OF HAMILTON
NOTICE OF MOTION
Council Date: January 25, 2012
MOVED BY COUNCILLOR J FARR....
Use of City Hall Tower 2 as Downtown Site for HWDSB Offices
Whereas, McMaster University's Family Medicine Department is poised to construct an exciting multi-level facility on the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board site at the corner of Main and Bay Streets, and;
Whereas, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board has stated an interest in moving their downtown offices to their Mountain location, and;
Whereas, when designated and constructed in 1960, Stanley Roscoe's vision for City Hall included a second tower, situated immediately south of the current bulding, and;
Whereas, retaining the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board as a keynote employer in downtown Hamilton is of paramount importance to Hamilton, and;
Therefore be it resolved:
That City staff be directed to formally propose the City Hall second tower site for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board for a nominal long-term land lease fee, and undertake discussions with the Board on their requirements.
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