Montreal is demanding more openness from the Quebec government in order to integrate high-altitude schools – such as those with a playground on the roof – into the dense neighborhoods of the metropolis.
Posted at 5:00 am
The Plante administration will send a half-hearted response to the Montreal School Service Center’s (CSSDM) request for land to build new schools, according to a municipal document released Thursday. The city does not have large areas in its central districts to build schools with the same characteristics as in the suburbs or in the countryside, Montreal argues in its document.
“The city expects it […] The CSSDM is responsible for their space requirements and can better integrate them into Montreal’s living environment, the municipal document said. These environments are based on the merging of spaces and functions in a context of increased density. »
In an interview with La Presse, Robert Beaudry, elected chief of town planning in the Plante administration, argues that school boards need to be more open-minded.
Schools are currently being set up [avec] very few floors and a large courtyard. We agree, it’s difficult in an already built sector. What we’re saying to ourselves is, ‘Is there a way to take courses on the roof? Servitude approaches [où un parc municipal servirait de cour d’école] ? Schools on several floors?”
Robert Beaudry, in charge of urban planning for the city of Montreal
It is the “model of the Montreal school of tomorrow,” assures the administration.
“When you get downtown, where the value per square foot is exponential, where you have to try to make it profitable and use it to the maximum, especially since the needs are very, very great. Can we have innovative school models? “, he added. “In New York, rooftop schoolyards are pretty commonplace. »
Currently, the CSSDM wants to build schools that do not exceed 4 floors “to facilitate active travel and avoid the regulatory restrictions associated with a high-rise building and the mandatory inspections of facades of 5 floors and more,” the organization indicates in a document that is sent to the City of Montreal.
The CSSDM did not immediately respond to the issue.
Since 2020 and the abolition of school boards, it is up to municipalities to identify and prepare land for future Quebec schools according to the general needs expressed by school service centers.
Therefore, the CSSDM wrote to the City of Montreal last November to ask them to identify and prepare ten sites by 2025 to build as many schools there – nine elementary schools and one secondary school.
On the menu: already planned projects such as the new downtown elementary school (on the site of the Grand Séminaire) and in Griffintown. But also requests for two plots of land in the racecourse area (a primary school and a secondary school are planned), a plot of land in the Louvain Est sector and a plot of land near the current Saint-Denis bus garage in La Petite-Patrie.
According to Robert Beaudry, the CSSDM is putting the cart before the horse with these applications: Although these three areas have been promised, the apartments will not be built out of the ground in the short term.
“The city is striving to incorporate these needs into the planning of these sectors,” states Montreal.