A recent article in the Toronto Star reported that the Toronto District School Board (the “TDSB”) is looking at locating schools in high-rise condominium buildings.
In some areas the existing schools are at overcapacity and are unable to accommodate all the students who live in the area. With existing school properties not being large enough to accommodate portables or an expansion, and with the lack of available real estate to construct new schools, setting up school campuses in new high-rise buildings may be the solution.
As this concept is just in its infancy stages, the details and the logistics still need to be worked out and the first high-rise school would probably not become a reality until about 2024. In order to accommodate school facilities and meet TDSB’s criteria (i.e. safety, accessibility, separate entrance, fenced outdoor yard, etc.), the developer needs to plan for and include the school in the early planning stages of a condominium project. It has been suggested that schools could occupy the podium level of a condominium development.
Not only would such a school accommodate students in the surrounding area, having a school located in a condominium building will appeal to condominium residents with school-age children. As traditional single-family houses become more expensive in the urban cores of major cities, many families face the choice of living in a condominium in the urban core or buying a house in the suburbs. The convenience of having a school located in the condominium building may be enough to swing the pendulum in favour of the condominium.