Future of Lorne Ave Public School

What is happening?

Update on 3 Oct 2019: A Request for Qualification process has begun in order to identify interested developers. City of London is looking for the "right type of development to enhance the park and contribute to the Old East Village's amazing quality and character." This is the first step in the redevelopment process.

Update on 20 Feb 2019: there will be a community meeting on 27 Feb 2019, starting at 7 pm, to present the proposed design for the new park, at Boyle Memorial Community Centre. There will be a presentation at 7:15 pm. Childminding will be available. Read the notice for more info.

Update on 28 Aug 2018: The city has initiated a zoning amendment to put an open space zone on 45% of the property, which will become a new park, and a residential zone on the remaining parcel, which is intended to be developed as new low-rise residential housing along an extension of Queens Place to Lorne Ave. A public participation meeting on this zoning amendment, which is consistent with the two development concepts presented at the most recent community information meeting, will be held at planning and environment committee on 24 Sept 2018, no earlier than 5:45pm. The staff report is available here.

Update on 23 July 2018: City staff report: "Grading is 90% complete. Over the next few weeks, the contractor will be delivering topsoil and will be final grading the site. There will be an increased presence of deliveries as there will be an estimated 500 truckloads of topsoil being delivered. Once the topsoil is graded, the contractor will be hydroseeding the site. To protect the site while the seed establishes, the contractor will be leaving the construction fence intact, however, they will have it moved onto the property in order to re-open the public sidewalk that is currently closed."

Update on 7 May 2018: City staff report: "The Contractor has completed the abatement process and demolition of the Lorne Ave Public School building has started. Demolition of the building began last Monday and the contractor is approximately 2/3rds complete on the lower section of the building (gymnasium side). The contractor anticipates starting the 3 story section of the building later this week, and in about 2 weeks the contractor will be shutting down the sidewalk along Lorne Ave to begin this area of demolition." 

Update on 2 Jan 2018: A notification letter from the City was released stating that the demolition of the former Lorne Avenue Public School site will commence in January 2018 with the completion of work anticipated to end in September 2018. 

The scope of work includes:

  • Demolition of the existing school
  • Demolition of the existing storage shed
  • Demolition of asphalt surfaces and internal fencing 

Once demolition has been completed, the site will be restored with topsoil and reseeded. Details of the demolition process are available in the Request for Tenders documentation (starting on page 538). The careful, deliberate approach to demolition includes demolishing the foundation and footings using a technique that combines non-explosive expanding grout injected into pre-determined saw cuts and hydraulic hammering. The contractor is required to install vibration monitors and keep vibrations below a prescribed threshold.

The contractor for the project is Budget Environmental Disposal Inc, which was the lowest of 12 bidders at a cost of $1,293,000.

Construction fencing will completely enclose the site for the duration of demolition to ensure residents' safety.

Please forward any questions or concerns to the key contacts at the bottom of this page.

The former Lorne Ave Public School site is being redeveloped into parkland and new residential infill. The former school building will be demolished.

City staff are preparing a Zoning By-law Amendment to permit the reuse and redevelopment of a portion of the property for a neighbourhood park and a potential range of new land uses complementary to the neighbourhood.

There will be future community information meetings about the zoning amendment in Sept and Nov 2017. Planning staff are targeting a Dec 2017 meeting of planning and environment committee for the public participation meeting on the zoning amendment. Concurrently, work will start on the archaeological assessment of the and demolition of the former school building. The demolition work is planned to run from Oct 2017 until Spring 2018.

What has happened so far?

  • 2 Sept 2014: Civic Administration submitted the proposed Offer to Purchase to the Thames Valley District School Board to acquire the Lorne Avenue Public School property at a purchase price of $550,000.

  • 15 Oct 2014: The City of London entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale with the TVDSB to acquire the Lorne Avenue Public School property located at 723 Lorne Avenue, subject to several conditions. The Lorne Avenue Public School property was acquired by the City of London to meet a critical need for parkland in the Old East Village neighbourhood.

  • Jan & Feb 2015: City staff met to discuss the process to establish the community engagement schedule and the potential mechanisms to find a suitable purchaser.

  • 23 April 2015: The city met with OEV residents to share information on the history of the site, discuss the RFP process, identify potential locations for the park and assuming the sale and retention of the school building and learn from the community about their high-level goals, objectives and vision for the parkland.

  • 31 March 2015: Municipal Council endorsed the process outlined by the Corporate Services Committee regarding engagement with the local community to solicit private interest and opportunities to retain the school building. If no successful proposals were obtained throughout the RFP process, the second scenario would be the creation of a park on a portion of the site and demolition of the school building to repurpose the land in a way that is compatible with the community.

  • 12 Feb 2016: RFP16-10 – Adaptive Re-use Opportunity: Lorne Avenue Public School Building was released with a deadline of 25 March 2016. This deadline was later amended via an addendum to the RFP to be 24 March, as the 25th was Good Friday. 
  • 23 June 2016: Municipal Council deferred consideration of consideration of the delegation status by William Komer, Executive Director, Campus Creative, until staff provide an update on the Lorne Avenue Public School Request for Proposal process. This decision was made to assist the Corporate Services Committee in determining when/if to grant the delegation request.

  • 28 Oct 2016: The City took possession of the Lorne Avenue Public School property.

  • 6 Dec 2016: Council approves business case #2 (PDF) as part of the 2017 budget update, which increases the budget for holding and carrying costs of corporate properties by $400,000 annually. Costs associated with owning the Lorne Ave Public School property are part of the rationale for this business case.

  • 21 Feb 2017: Report to Corporate Services Committee about options for the property. The committee recommends proceeding with the previously endorsed process and demolishing the building. The committee also recommends that staff re-engage the community by holding a community meeting and continue to evaluate any future unsolicited proposals to repurpose the building.
  • 2 Mar 2017: Council unanimously passes corporate services committee recommendation.

  • 11 Apr 2017: Corporate services committee recommends allocating $3,000,000 of the $4,600,000 operating surplus for 2016 to cover the demolition, hazardous materials abatement and site restoration costs for the property.

  • 18 Apr 2017: Council approves $3,000,000 budget for demolition.

  • 20 Jun 2017: Report to Corporate Services Committee providing an update on the Lorne Ave Public School site. Committee unanimously recommends proceeding with the demolition and returning any future unsolicited proposals unopened to the proponents.
  • 26 Jun 2017: Council unanimously passed the recommendation from Corporate Services Committee.

  • 27 Jun 2017: City planning staff hosted a community information meeting at Boyle Memorial Community Centre, which included a presentation from city staff and a workshop where residents worked in groups to develop concepts for the parkland and residential infill.
  • 28 Aug 2017: a report from city staff that recommends permitting demolition of the school building, which is located in the Old East Village Heritage District, will be considered by planning and environment committee at a public participation meeting.
  • 2 Jan 2018: notification letter regarding demolition of school building circulated to area residents.  
  • 28 Aug 2018: notification letter regarding zoning amendment circulated to area residents
  • 3 Oct 2019: City of London Media Release: Request for Qualification

Request for Proposals Update

  • After the 23 Apr 2015 community information meeting, feedback from the was incorporated into RFP 16-10 – Adaptive Re-use Opportunity: Lorne Avenue Public School Building and was released on February 12, 2016 for six weeks.

  • A community member was chosen by the community to sit on the RFP Evaluation Committee.

  • The RFP and Addendum (the original closing date was on Good Friday) were available to the public for five weeks prior to the deadline. The RFP closed on March 24, 2016.

  • The RFP did not result in an eligible submission for review by the Evaluation Committee. One submission was received late. As per standard RFP protocol, the late submission was returned to the proponent unopened.

  • As “Scenario A” did not result in an eligible submission for repurposing the building, the next step in the council-endorsed process would be to proceed with demolition of the building per “Scenario B”. However, before preparation for “Scenario B” began, an expression of interest regarding a future use for the Lorne Avenue Public School building was received by William Komer, Executive Director, Campus Creative. A second confidential expression of interest was also received by staff after the RFP closed.

Unsolicited Proposals Update

  • On 21 Feb 2017, Corporate services committee considered a staff report, which outlined the following options for Municipal Council to consider if they wish to move forward with the disposition of the Lorne Avenue Public School building on a severed reduced site:

    1. Direct negotiation with a potential purchaser - Realty Services would conduct direct negotiations with a prospective purchaser(s) to arrive at an agreed upon purchase price and terms and conditions of sale.

    2. Competitive Tender - This option requires Realty Services to suggest a market value for the land and call tenders for the sale of the school building and land. Broad advertising would be recommended. Staff would administer at a low cost to the city.

    3. Modified Tender through a Real Estate Broker - This option involves engaging a Real Estate Broker to market the building for sale through a Modified Tender Process (MTP). In an MTP the asset is taken to the open marketplace without a price. A period of time is specified for marketing of the property and a deadline for submissions is set. There are costs for advertising and the Real Estate Broker fees.

    4. List the building for sale by a Real Estate Broker - This option involves engaging a Real Estate Broker to list the building for sale on the open market including the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This advertising could be marketed locally, regionally and nationally. Broker fees are payable on completion of a sale.

    5. (Recommended by staff) Continue on the previously endorsed process and demolish the building - Preparing for this scenario would involve identifying a source of funding for a Stage 2 archaeological assessment and for demolition. The estimated cost for demolition, hazardous materials abatement, and site restoration is $3 million. The timeline for demolition would be at least 12 months after a decision to proceed with demolition.

    Corporate Services Committee recommended Option 5, continuing on the previously endorsed process and demolishing the building. Committee's recommendation also stated: "in the event that staff feel that there is a viable opportunity for retention of the building that comes forward prior to its demolition, the Civic Administration BE DIRECTED to bring that opportunity forward for the consideration of the Municipal Council."

    Corporate Services Committee also recommended that staff be directed to hold a community meeting to re-engage the Old East Village community, to update them on the current process and state the community’s vision for parkland and residential infill on a cleared site.

Why a park?

  • Back in 2014, staff recommended acquisition of the site for neighbourhood parkland and recreational space because it contributes to the City’s ongoing neighbourhood revitalization efforts in the Old East Village and ideally lessens the impact of losing the school by replacing one community focal point (school) with another (park).

  • In 2014, in support of purchasing the land, the analysis of parkland and open space was conducted for this portion of the Old East neighbourhood. It was determined that the existing neighbourhood currently does not have any parkland within the boundaries set as arterial / major roads. The current target is 800m and the community’s closest parks (Boyle Park, Carling Heights Optimist Centre / McMahen Park and Queen’s Park) do not meet that standard.

  • The Parks and Recreation Master Plan sets out targets for developing neighbourhoods to provide 3 hectares of parkland per 1,000 population. According to 2006 Census data, this neighbourhood has approximately 3,310 people and if the “developing neighbourhood” target of parkland plus open space was applied to this situation, there should be approximately 9.9 hectares of parkland/open space available. However, with no school and no parkland available, the Old East Village has a unique neighbourhood parkland deficiency.

What happens next?

There will be a community meeting on 27 Feb 2019, starting at 7 pm, to present the proposed design for the new park, at Boyle Memorial Community Centre. There will be a presentation at 7:15 pm. Childminding will be available. Read the notice for more info. Construction is tentatively scheduled for summer/fall 2019.

Daryl Diegel (Supervisor - Facilities Design & Construction, City of London), 519-661-2489, ext. 8464 or [email protected].

Michelle Knieriem (Planner II), 519-661-2489, ext. 4549 or [email protected].

Members of the Corporate Services Committee including myself (Chair) and my colleagues Paul Hubert, Michael Van HolstJosh Morgan, and Jared Zaifman.

Meg Pirie is the president of the Old East Village Community Association. Her email is [email protected].

Jen Pastorius is the manager of the Old East Village BIA. Her email is [email protected].

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