Public School Board Gets Final Approval For School At Former International Playing Card Co.

The Greater Essex County District School Board has cleared the final hurdle in getting a new French immersion school at the site of the former International Playing Card Company.

After extensive consultation with the city's heritage committee and revamp of the original design, city council has given final approval for the project.

The board had intended to tear down the heritage building, but has agreed to incorporate portions of it in the new school instead.

Director of Education Erin Kelly says she's thrilled to bring a school to the the downtown core.

"Had a few bumps along the way, but we're excited to be able to preserve the heritage, but also make it fit into the site in a really nice way. We're excited that council has been supportive of this new build. It's a good example of adaptive reuse. So we're excited and we think the building concept will be really exciting."

The board's Coordinator of Engineering Giuliana Hinchliffe says the entire front facade of the building will be preserved.

"If you look at a lot of older schools they have that same look with the big windows. So it's quite easily adapted to a school. It's a nice, smaller structure. So it's not a big, huge building where we have to. It's actually working really well into the plan."

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Photo courtesy of Greater Essex County District School Board

Hinchliffe says saving parts of the building is going to add some time to the process.

"The front facade is so demonstrative of the first industrial look of the City of Windsor. Keeping that building is a delicate matter and we're going to have to be very careful on how we preserve it and that's going to take time."

The Ministry of Education has approved $15-million for the school which is expected to have house about 600 students replacing the Giles Campus School currently located at the former Lowe Secondary School.

The school board hasn't set an exact timeline for the build but hopes to have the new school open within the next two years.