Marrying the ‘old’ with the ‘new’

The Morrisburg High School will retain its architectural character and, at the same time, it will be home to new-age enhancements.

Once South Dundas council made the decision to ‘recycle’ the old Morrisburg High School  building, things quickly got underway and Colbourne & Kembel Architects Inc. were hired in the fall of 2011 to draw up plans for the project.

In terms of a timeline for the project, on March 8th, Chief Administrative Officer Stephen McDonald reported that “a tentative schedule is to have drawings complete by April 20th with the tender period commencing thereafter and running until June 5th. A recommendation will be made to council in June. The timeline to complete the renovations will be part of the tenders.”

The plan for the building is to keep as much of the original structure as possible, thus protecting a bit of South Dundas heritage.

At the same time, changes are being made inside and out to make the building safer, more user-friendly, and perhaps a bit more stylish.

As for the interior, according to McDonald, “the lower level (gym) is being filled in order to construct the main level that will house the medical clinic.”

“The main level currently exists on the north and south sides of the lower level. The main level will be extended across the existing gym to connect the existing north and south entrances.”

“The township offices are located on the second floor. Council chambers and municipal programming space is planned for the third floor.”

As for getting from the first floor to the third floor, McDonald has confirmed that “yes, an elevator is included in the plan. The brick portion in the centre  is the elevator.”

As for exterior additions, “the glass and spandrel panels (shown in the picture) are an addition,” he said.

The main front entrance of the Morrisburg Collegiate Institute will not actually be used as such when plans are completed. According to McDonald, “the existing entrance fronting on Ottawa Street is being maintained as an architectural feature to maintain the facade of the original building. The doors will be replaced by windows.”

The main entrance to the ‘new’ building will instead be located “under the canopy north of the elevator tower. This entrance will provide access to the entire building.”

Parking for the Institute will remain similar to what currently exists. “We plan on providing 75 parking spaces, mainly by utilizing existing asphalt areas. The existing parking area in front of the clinic and behind the high school will be utilized and the area that housed the outdoor rink will be used.”

The subject of what to call the new building came up during the March 5th, South Dundas budget meeting. It is most often referred to as simply ‘the old high school’ and, sometimes, by its original name, the Morrisburg Collegiate Institute. 

On March 8th, McDonald confirmed that the subject of building names hadn’t come up before the meeting and, at this point, there hasn’t been any indication, discussion, or decision made on what the building’s official name might be going forward.

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