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The Story So Far:

Pia Bouman School answers questions about 225 Sterling Rd

Q: How did the Board make the decision to move to 225 Sterling Rd?

A: Pia Bouman and the Board members have spent the past two years

identifying and exploring locations with potential for the school. This

process was accelerated in May 2018, after the City of Toronto rejected plans for 6

Noble Street that included space for our school. In June, the Board engaged

Karen Rosenberg of Harvey Kalles who, assisted by a half-dozen other

real estate agents including former parent and long-time supporter

Scott Bartle, worked around the clock to help find property that the

school could afford and that would suit its dancers.

The Board of Directors reviewed all available spaces in an area bounded

by Lake Ontario, Jane Street, St. Clair Avenue and Ossington Avenue,

including properties owned and managed by the City of Toronto, both

local school boards and church dioceses. In the end, the Board’s Real

Estate committee closely considered more than 20 properties and

visited a short list of 10 to 12 possible contenders.

225 Sterling Road, first viewed last July and subsequently visited

several more times by Board members and, most recently, 6 Noble

architect Philip Beesley, emerged as by far the most practical and

inspiring option identified by this prolonged search.

Q: How can parents, dancers and members of the Pia Bouman

School community be part of this exiting new chapter in the

school’s history? What can we do to help?

A: The new space needs a renovation. Architects, designers and friends

in the project management and/or the building trades who would like

to contribute to the planning, design and renovation are urged to

contact the school’s real estate committee as soon as possible using

225Sterling@piaboumanschool.org

If you are able to financially support this renovation effort, please

donate through our “GoFundMe” campaign at

www.gofundme.com/help-pia-bouman-school-find-a-home.

Parents, dancers and supporters who would like to volunteer to help

with the renovation and move–including high school students seeking

community credit–can email the committee at

225Sterling@piaboumanschool.org to ask questions and provide

details of their skills and availability.

As soon as we have details and a schedule, sign-up sheets will be posted

in the school and circulated at community meetings.

Q: Can we visit the new space at 225 Sterling?

A: The school will schedule meetings and tours of the new space in the

near future.

Q: When will the school be moving? What will happen to classes?

A: Starting in April, we will begin our period of transition and

renovation. There will be no interruption to any of our classes,

performances or summer programs between now and the beginning of

our 2019/2020 season. The school will be fully operational in the

Sterling Road space by Sept. 3.

Q: What will you do first? What will happen to the Noble Street

studios and theatre?

A: First, we have to build walls. The school’s new home is an exceptional

space; it now offers one big former industrial space with lofted ceilings

that range from 10 to 30 feet in height. The 9,510-square-foot space

provides the same possibilities as 6 Noble, in that it gives us room for

three or four studios of different sizes that can open up to do double

duty as a performance hub; as well as several additional spaces that can

serve as offices and prop/costume storage.

An architect will create renderings in the next few weeks, after which

we will begin to plan the specific steps of this move in stages that make

the most sense and cause the least disruption to our dancers. Our

community can feel reassured that we will take with us from 6 Noble

everything we value and can remove and transport that serves an

artistic or practical purpose in the new space. For example, at the top of

our list is the treasured purple stained glass window, the glass studio

doors, the sprung floors and the ballet barres. The new space means an

exciting change and expanded opportunities, but it will also feel like

home.

Q: Will the move mean any significant changes to classes, programming, scheduling, or pricing?

A: The Pia Bouman School has always been committed to ensuring its

unique and defining mandate: “Every child who wishes to dance, to

create and to perform has the opportunity to do so.”  Our fees as

well as bursaries will be assessed with this in mind, taking into

consideration any new costs for the school. The 40-year-old school,

which was granted federal charitable status in 1987, will continue to

seek philanthropic and community funding to support this mandate.

Q: What plans does the school have for the community of teachers

and arts educators who operate under Pia Bouman School’s

organizational umbrella at 6 Noble?

A: Friends, teachers and educational performance artists who have

collaborated with us in the past, and colleagues who have taught classes

and developed their performance work at the school, remain part of our

mandate and will be invited to continue to work with us at Sterling

Road. The school will schedule a meeting for educational partners and

collaborators in the near future.

Q: How long is our lease on the new space?

A: We have secured a lease for five years, with an option to renew for an

additional five years.

Q: How do we get there? Will there be parking? Where are the

closest and most convenient TTC stops?

A: Our new space is located in the area between Dundas Street West and

Bloor Street that is shaping up as west Toronto’s new arts and culture

hub. 225 Sterling is located a five to 10-minute walk from the Sterling

Road stop on Dundas West, past the new locations for the House of

Anansi bookstore and press, the new Drake Commissary restaurant and

MOCA, where the Forna Cultura café is now open until 8 or 9 p.m.

The location is also a less than 10-minute walk south from Bloor’s

Lansdowne and Dundas West subway stops. Our studios have a

storefront entry that’s nestled between a yoga studio and a shop that

calls itself “Canada’s best dress rental”, both of which operate until 8

p.m. or later most evenings. Authorized users share a parking lot with

other tenants in the 221-225 Sterling buildings; parents can pull up to

the front door to drop off their children, but will then need to proceed to

a Green P parking lot conveniently located just around the corner.

For more information and updates, keep checking this page and

others on our website. For a look at the direction this area is

moving in, and how far it’s come in the past three years, we also

recommend reading this lovely story by Toronto Star arts reporter

Murray Whyte:

www.thestar.com/entertainment/2015/09/29/sterling-rd-gets-an-artistic-polish

 

About Our School:

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Our mandate is to make dance available to all who wish to pursue it: this is the guiding principle which breathes through the school.

Our programs are tailored to all ages and all levels: from the very young to the pre-professional and mature student.

Our highly qualified staff nurtures and encourages creative development and self-discipline, empowering their students with strong dance technique, musicality and social awareness. They are encouraged to be intelligent and honest about their dance art.

Our students learn that dance is a communication tool and this knowledge gives them a sense of excitement about dance as creative expression. Many of our students have pursued their education in dance and choreography at professional schools and universities. Some of them have become professional artists in their own right. All have acquired a true appreciation and love for dance.