Bradford gets federal boost to turn old school into new community hub


Ontario Construction News staff writer

The federal government has announced over $5.3 million to retrofit an unused elementary school in Bradford West Gwillimbury into a community centre. Funding comes from the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program.

“Investing in green upgrades to public infrastructure makes sense for our environment, our communities, and our economy,” said Tony Van Bynen, Newmarket—Aurora MP. “The retrofits to this unused elementary school will reduce operational costs and GHG emissions while also providing an easily accessible community centre for the residents of Bradford West Gwillimbury.”

The cost to build the new community hub at 177 Church St. ballooned almost 50 per cent and town council approved an additional $3.6 million for the project in June, awarding the tender to Domm Construction of Ayton.

Last June, council authorized a budget of $6.7 million. Domm’s bid, which staff called “the strongest proposal with the lowest price,” was $8.5 million.

Councillors reasoned that the project was worth the increased spending, noting the renovation will “go back to the bricks and mortar of the building” and create a brand-new building.

Renovations started in early May, with an expected completion date of May/June 2023.

Work includes upgrading infrastructure and equipment with energy efficient alternatives, redoing the building envelope, increasing wall insulation, installing a new roof with insulation, and putting in high-quality energy-saving windows to reduce energy consumption by an estimated 67.6% and greenhouse gas emissions by 83 tonnes annually.

The multi-purpose centre will be a place for vulnerable community members to go when they need a helping hand. It will contribute to building a better, more equal community.

The Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program is accepting applications for small and medium retrofit projects to existing community buildings ranging in total eligible cost from $100,000 to $2,999,999 will be accepted and funded on a rolling intake basis.

Applicants with large retrofit projects to existing community buildings or new community building projects with total eligible costs ranging from $3 million to $25 million were accepted through a competitive intake process which closed on July 6, 2021.

A second intake is anticipated later in 2022, however, the date has not yet been determined. Details about the second intake will be published to the Infrastructure Canada – Green and Inclusive Community Buildings’ website as soon as they become available.