New school at Tafelberg

The sound of children learning is set to return to the former Tafelberg School in Sea Point.

The sale of the historic property has been awarded to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School.

The property was sold by the provincial public works department for R135m, confirms department spokesperson Byron la Hoe.

“In its tender documents, the Phyllis Jowell School indicated that the property would be used for a mixture of purposes – that is, educational, recreational, cultural, community and commercial purposes,” he says.

In March 2014, the property – along with three other provincially owned sites – was advertised for development by private sector investors in partnership with the provincial government.

The site formerly known as the Tafelberg Remedial High School consists of two separate erven of 1.7 hectares.

The property was presented to investors with the proposal of a mixed-use development, which would have included the creation of 155 residential units. In the proposal, the historical facade was to be preserved and a park created in front of the building. About 20 parties expressed interest in the development of the site (“Designs on development”, 15 May 2014, People’s Post).

However, the property was declared surplus to government needs and sold, says La Hoe.

The transfer of the property is expected within the next few months, says Lance Katz, deputy chairperson of the board of governors of the school.

“The Phyllis Jowell School has been looking for an alternative site for some time. We were also significantly influenced by broader community needs and considerations,” he says.

“The Tafelberg site provides an ideal location with wonderful potential for multiple educational, recreational, communal and commercial uses. The history of the Tafelberg property as a school with the magnificent historic school building and large grounds were added attractions.”

Best use of sitePlans have not yet been finalised for the property, but the school has set up a working committee to evaluate the best use of the site, Katz says.

“The Tafelberg property is a substantial site in the heart of Sea Point and has enormous potential for a range of uses. Our goal is to create an educational, recreational and communal hub that may also incorporate complimentary retail and commercial elements,” he says.

However, the heritage aspects of the site are set to remain, with special care being taken of the historic school building and the tree-lined lane leading up to the school, Katz says.

“We will be putting a great deal of effort into restoring the school building to its former glory and enhancing the environmental aspects of the site which have deteriorated due to lack of use over a number of years. The Tafelberg property should return to take pride of place in enhancing the overall Sea Point surrounds,” he says.

The pupils of Tafelberg School moved to their new school building in 2010, which merged the primary and high schools. The building has been standing open since then.

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