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Nora Frances Henderson high school steps closer to construction phase

Rendering of Nora Frances Henderson secondary school.
Rendering of Nora Frances Henderson secondary school. Hamilton-Wentworth district school boarc

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is inching closer to seeing a new Nora Frances Henderson high school on the south mountain.

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Board chair Todd White says there have been some hurdles over the last five years to secure the construction.

“We had to go through a land swap with the previous owner. We had to go through re-zoning processes,” he said.

The area is also undeveloped, he added. “The underground infrastructure simply wasn’t there.”

The board is hoping that those issues are all behind them now, with the City of Hamilton approving the site plan for the 166,000 square foot, three-storey building that promises to be state-of-the-art in its offerings to students.

“This will be nothing short of the best in terms of construction and architecture,” said White, pointing to science labs, a black box theatre, fitness centre and the board’s second artificial turf playing field.

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One of the last outstanding considerations is cost.

The new school to be built southwest of Rymal and Upper Sherman was originally estimated to cost $32 million. According to White, inflation has impacted construction costs and the new estimate is closer to $34 million.

White says there is an opportunity to apply to the Ministry of Education to make up the extra cost. Failing that, he says, there are funds available to back the project.

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The board has opened up the tendering process to fill the construction contract.

Once a company is chosen, the board will acquire final building permits and get shovels in the ground.

White anticipates the earliest start date for the school, which will accommodate 1,250 Grade 9 to 12 students, is January 2020.