In closed session, Monday, the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board declared the Queen Elizabeth School property surplus to the board’s needs.
The board’s communications officer, Kerry Donnell, confirmed to the Gazette that trustees made the declaration regarding the two-storey school on Barker Street in Picton and Belleville’s Quinte Secondary School during a committee-of-the-whole session at the board’s regular monthly meeting in Marmora. She said that means the board may follow a process outlined in Ontario Regulation 444/98 to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of the property.
The restriction would allow the board to offer the property at fair market value to Prince Edward County for the purposes of water or wastewater services, highway maintenance, electrical power services, policing, fire services, or transit or lease it to the municipality for provision of a child care centre, family support program, or children’s recreation program.
If none of those uses are applicable, on the same day, the board would call for proposals to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of the property from the French language or separate school boards serving the municipality, organizations with qualifying educational agreements with the board, Loyalist College, College Boreal d’Arts, Queen’s University, Children’s Mental Health Services Hastings and Prince Edward, the South East Local Health Integration Network, Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health, the Province, the County (for a purpose other than described above), Lennox and Addington County (for Prince-Edward-Lennox and Addington Social Services), a qualifying Indigenous organization, and the federal government.
Upon receiving notice from the board, those organizations would have 90 days to express interest in the property. They also have up to 180 days to submit an offer for the property. Offers must based on fair market value, unless the proposal comes from a school board for pupil accommodation. In that case, there is a formula supplied by regulation to determine proposal terms.
The board must follow the above order of priority in negotiating and accepting offers.
Once the Ministry of Education is satisfied the board has exhausted all those options, it can pursue options to sell the building to others expressing interest.
The school was built in 1953. It hosted its last set of Kindergarten to Grade 8 classes in the 2017-2018 school year after accepting students from Pinecrest Memorial Public School for one year before those students were moved to PECI this September as part of a Kindergarten-to-Grade-12 school.
Citing provisions in the Education Act requiring property matters to be discussed in closed session, Donnell told this newspaper she was unable to provide further information about the trustees’ decision.