The $1 million demolition of two long-standing school buildings is well underway to make room for an even larger development project in downtown Barrie. Prince of Wales Public School and Barrie Central Collegiate will be no more by April, with the former already almost completely gone.
According to HIP Developments, the company overseeing the entire downtown project in partnership with city council will re-purpose the walls of Prince of Wales for a public park. The plan is to build a multi-residential complex with a combination of rental and condominium units in its place.
Local residents have shared their feelings about the demolition of Barrie Central, and the loss of landmarks in their city, with one saying “My heart truly breaking to watch this. I am so hopeful that the Fisher auditorium will be saved though.” There are no current plans to demolish Fisher Auditorium, but that may change in the future based on council’s decisions on architectural plans for the redevelopment project. According to the rumour mill, talks are already underway about a multi-purpose and state-of-the-art cultural and community events facility to replace the auditorium.
Other possible developments within the overall refurbishing of the downtown core include a new YMCA to be built on the land currently occupied by Red Storey Field. The price tag for the entire downtown project stands at $100 million but is expected to increase to $120-150 million by the time it is completed, according to HIP Developments.
The overarching goal is to attract more people to the downtown core which may also feature new shops, a restaurant and public art exhibits running along Bradford Street.