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Replacement School Project: Superintendent's Recommendation

Thu, 19 Jun, 2014

News: Replacement School Project: Superintendent's Recommendation

At the public board meeting on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, Superintendent Robertson recommended to the Board of Trustees that:

The recommendations were approved by the Board of Trustees. 

Rundle New School 1, revised image May 14, 2014

REPLACEMENT SCHOOL IN GREATER LAWTON

COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR A NEW SCHOOL

This project gives Edmonton Public Schools a rare opportunity to reinvest in a mature neighbourhood in Edmonton. In deciding which community would get the new school, we listened to everything people told us at public meetings and in our two online surveys. Our goal was to engage as many people as possible in this project, and all feedback helped us make the decision.

Of the three clusters considered for the replacement school, the Greater Lawton community showed the strongest support for the project. The community said they were very eager to see the new school built for their children.

The Greater Highlands cluster definitely showed some interest and support for a Kindergarten to Grade 9 replacement school, but parents and community members felt the process was moving too quickly. The community wanted more opportunities to share their thoughts with us and have more concrete design plans and programming considerations. Without full community support, this isn’t the right time to move forward.

When listening to the Greater Westmount community, we heard clearly that the community did not support the project. Some people disagreed with our choice of schools for the Westmount cluster and did not want the project to continue as proposed.

NEW SCHOOL VERSUS MODERNIZATION

The options we presented for the Greater Lawton area included both building a new school and modernizing existing buildings. The Province usually recommends a new replacement school when the estimated cost to modernize a school is more than 75 per cent of the cost of a new building.  

We estimate the cost to construct a new building at the Rundle School site (Options 2 & 3) will be approximately $18,840,000.

We estimate the cost to modernize existing buildings to create a K-9 school will be more than 75 per cent of new construction. The costs to modernize are approximately:

  • $17,566,000 at R.J. Scott School (Option 4 and 93 per cent of the cost of a new building)
  • $14,230,000 at Rundle School (Option 5 and 75.5 per cent of the cost of a new building)

The Greater Lawton community also told us that they greatly preferred a new school to modernizing an older building.

SITE SIZE AND LOCATION

The northeast corner of the Rundle School site (Option 2) is recommended as the best fit for the new school. The site is:

  • centrally located in the Greater Lawton area
  • away from busy roads and traffic
  • large enough to build without limitations
  • easy to reach by Edmonton Transit System (ETS)

We believe that a new school can be built on the site while Rundle School stays open, but we need to finalize the school design before we can be sure. We will begin working to determine whether students can continue to attend Rundle School during construction of the replacement school.

Recently, we’ve seen large construction projects (new building at Major General Griesbach School and modernization of Victoria School) happen safely without disrupting the school. Both of these sites were much smaller than the Rundle School site.

COMMUNITY CAMPUS

Once the new school is ready, the replaced schools may be available for community use by organizations that help seniors, immigrants and newcomers, children and youth groups.

Rundle School, for example, could become a ‘community campus’ with before/after school care, day cares and other student or family services in the former school building. We will work with partner organizations, the City of Edmonton and the Province to make the best use of the space.