Ritson Road School bought by Region – to be turned into affordable housing


Published March 4, 2022 at 5:07 pm

The sale of the 99 year-old Ritson Road Public School in Oshawa to Durham Region is a done deal, with the region expected to preserve the neo-gothic heritage qualities of the building while converting it into affordable housing.

“This will be a signature redevelopment site which will set the tone for future affordable housing projects in our city,” said Regional Councillor Brian Nicholson. “The strong support from the community and leadership of both Oshawa and Regional Councils has made this project a reality and a terrific advancement for the community and the residents of Oshawa.”

The price tag for the building and the 5.14-acre property was $7.49 million, with the Region taking possession January 26.

Durham Region said in a statement that the building requires some work for energy and accessibility improvements and that staff is currently creating a “master plan” to maximize the use of the facility. “This site has a lot of potential and the Region wants to ensure this opportunity is leveraged.”

Nicholson said Durham is currently reviewing the work necessary to renovate the site for “much needed” affordable housing for the south-central Oshawa community, though that has not yet been confirmed by the Region, who said more information will be shared publicly “once an internal plan is developed.”

Ritson Road Public School was built in 1923 on a prominent rise on Ritson Road South, just north of Olive Avenue, for the sum of $54,000. The school, which saw three additions – the last in 1975 – was named after John Ritson, Oshawa’s first teacher who arrived in the area in 1820.

The school closed in 2012 after 89 years of service when the Durham District School Board closed three schools – Ritson Road, Duke of Edinburgh and Harmony (which was also built in 1923) – and consolidated the students at Clara Hughes Public School, which was built on the Duke of Edinburgh site.

After sitting dormant for nine years the board started the process of selling the property last April. The building was first offered at fair market value to the other school boards and then to various governments and government agencies.

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