Town of Essex buys former Harrow High School
"I’ve been doing a happy dance now for the last couple days,” says Town of Essex councilor, Sherry Bondy.
After sitting vacant for five years, the former Harrow high school may once again play a role in the community.
"The town of Essex council in our community, we are the proud owners of the Harrow high school building and all the beautiful green space that surrounds it," says Bondy.
The town of Essex has purchased the property from the Greater Essex County District School Board.
"Now we have a chance. We have a once in a lifetime chance for the community of Harrow, Colchester, the municipality of Essex and I know service groups are going to pitch in. It’s going to take a lot of elbow grease, but together we’ve come this far and together we can go farther," says Bondy.
There are no approved project plans at this time, but councilor Sherry Bondy is hopeful her six-point plan will transform the former school into a community hub.
"We need more recreational space, more potential office space and more space we can lease out to service groups and private enterprises," says Bondy.
"We have a huge interest in possibly renting, leasing space within this building if that can come to fruition," says Karen Dasilva, registered early childcare educator, Harrow Daycare.
Harrow Daycare says they are running out of space, but given the building’s close proximity, it’s a perfect fit for their latchkey before and after school program.
"We are full. We are at capacity. We have a waitlist in our program of a year. That’s never happened before. We’ve had waitlist before but turning down people that call and looking for care actually breaks our heart," says Dasilva.
Bondy says the building will need some work. The town has set aside sixty thousand dollars in its budget to hire a consultant to study the building's condition.
"Hopefully council passes that and we can look at the structure and the to-do list for the building. I believe the bricks and mortar are really solid. There have been few leaks in the roof and the gym floor needs some repairs. Having said that, there have been a lot of interest in the community and a lot of it that can make us money," says Bondy.