A Sarnia City Council commissioned report on the potential social, cultural and economic impacts that may result in the event of a closure of either Sarnia Collegiate Institute & Technical School (SCITS) or St. Clair Secondary School has concluded that the closure of St. Clair would be the better choice.
The report, which was released on Monday, compares the amenities at each of the schools as well as the perceived value of the land should either school be demolished.
In the case of SCITS, the value of the land would be negative, based on the lower cost of residential lots in the area.
By comparison, St. Clair, located at the corner of Murphy Road and Wellington, on the other hand, could be demolished and accommodate development of as many as 112 residential lots.
The amenities at SCITS, including an 850-seat auditorium, are said to be used six times more than those at St. Clair and generate more than 10 times the rental fees.
The report also details various parks and other open spaces that are nearby both schools.
A key differentiator was seen to be the auditorium, which is the largest in Lambton County. That space is used extensively, not only for school purposes, but for community groups.
Also cited in the report was the additional need for busing, should SCITS be closed.
The report indicated the likelihood of one or more businesses being impacted by the closure of SCITS, especially the Mitton Village area of the City and other parts of the downtown.
That same impact would not likely be the case with the closure of St. Clair.
The report, which does reference potential other uses for both sites, concluded that greater opportunities for redevelopment exist if SCITS were to remain open. If a closure were to occur, closing St. Clair “would appear to have less of an impact on its surroundings.”