A change of plans is afoot for the future of the old Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School building.
Although McMurray Street Investments Inc. — the building’s owners — originally envisioned turning the building into a 153-room senior’s complex, they have now revised their plans to include residential condominiums. The modified plans, which were announced to the public on Friday, May 25, will be up for approval tonight at 7 p.m. during a development services committee meeting at the Bracebridge municipal offices.
According to a report from development services director Kim Horrigan and town planner Matt Holmes, the revised plans will retain the front section of the former high school, but involve demolishing the remainder of the building. The addition of condominiums to the plans means the building, currently zoned as institutional, will need to be rezoned as a residential property.
“The applicant is then proposing to construct two residential buildings, which are proposed to be condominiumized,” the report reads. “The original portion of the existing building is proposed to contain a sales centre and will also contain residential units. The applicant is proposing a senior citizen’s home on the south portion of the site in the future. However the size and location of the use have not been determined.”
The property was bought from the Trillium Lakelands District School Board in January 2010 for $650,000, about four years after the new Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School opened on Clearbrook Trail. The original, $17-million plans for the site envisioned a senior’s complex which featured amenities like a pool, a spa, a games room, a beauty parlour and a theatre.
Earlier this year, renovation work began in the interior of the building’s front entrance.
The former high school has remained boarded up since 2007 and has been a target for vandals and firebugs over the years. Up until last winter, crews were working inside the building to keep hallways and access points clear for first responders, in the event that it had to be accessed during an emergency. Various parts of the building were also spray painted during at least two separate graffiti sprees in town this year.