Conditional deal for sale of SCITS reached with unnamed buyer

Former SCITS high school BlackburnNews.com file photo.

The Lambton Kent District School Board has reached a deal for the sale of the former SCITS high school.

Superintendent of Business Brian McKay said the board can’t identify the prospective purchaser yet.

“I can confirm that the board does have a binding agreement of purchase and sale for the property with a third party,” McKay said. “We’re currently working through the conditions in that agreement with the prospective purchaser, so that’s why we can’t disclose the name [of the buyer] based on our policy and procedure at this time, we hope to do an announcement with the prospective purchaser once the conditions are clear.”

It’s expected the buyer will not be identified until mid-June following completion of an environmental assessment.

The school board declared the nearly century-old building at 275 Wellington Street surplus in August of 2019 after it had been closed in June of that year. It was listed for sale on the open market in February of this year and reportedly attracted multiple offers.

The city and Lambton County were considering the property for potential “community hub” and social housing uses but Sarnia CAO Chris Carter said no bids were submitted by either.

A bid from neighbouring Vision Nursing & Rest Home, to acquire the site for a potential housing project, was not accepted.

Vision ’74 Inc. CEO Heather Martin said there was some initial disappointment.

“Because it is an exciting project but I would say overall it’s a pretty big project and we’re fortunate that somebody is interested in doing some work there,” said Martin. “We’ve always said that we’re a community partner and the work to be done over at the school is to protect the neighbourhood and to also protect the investment that we have in this south end of Sarnia and whatever we can do to encourage that with the new prospective owners, we’ll do that.”

The former SCITS building is more than 175,000 square feet in size and the property is 9.2 acres.

Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School merged in 2016 with St. Clair Secondary School and the combined student body moved into the renovated and expanded former St. Clair building on Murphy Road in 2019.

-With files from Colin Gowdy.