Edmonton Public Schools looks for input about future of 15 aging schools

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WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton Public Schools is asking citizens to give their thoughts about what to do with 15 schools in mature neighbourhoods. As Fletcher Kent reports, officials say the schools can’t continue to operate the way they are now – Mar 2, 2016

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Public Schools wants to speak to parents about what to do with 15 underutilized mature schools in the city.

The schools in question are located in the Rosslyn, Westlawn and Britannia neighbourhoods in west Edmonton. (See full list below).

The average age of the schools is 56 years and they have some of the district’s oldest infrastructure. The schools are the most under-utilized in the city.

“We do need to have 21st century learning environments. Keeping our infrastructure the same isn’t an option,” Chris Wright, managing director of infrastructure with Edmonton Public Schools, said.

“No matter where our students live in the city they’re entitled to these learning environments so we want to start these conversations now.”

Options could include shutting down the older schools and moving the students into a new or renovated school in each of the three communities. This could help cut down on maintenance costs and increase the school population.

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No money has been allocated and no government funds have been requested. At this point, Edmonton Public Schools just wants to start the conversation around the future of the schools.

“These are blue sky, ‘what if’ conversations,” Wright said. “We sincerely value what the community thinks and has to say. We genuinely want to work with them.

“What impact would a modernized or new replacement school have? What programming would they want to see? Would moving older schools into a new or renovated site better meet their unique community and student needs?” Wright pondered.

Graphic by Tonia Huynh, Global News

Nick Hong lives in the Westlawn area. He has a four-year-old daughter in preschool and has applied for her to go to school in another area for kindergarten because it’s a bigger school.

“It would be nice if it was larger because kindergarten for this school is just one class and it’s fairly small too.”

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The impacted schools are listed below:

Britannia area:

  • Mayfield
  • Youngstown
  • Brightview
  • Britannia

Rosslyn area:

  • McArthur
  • Athlone
  • Calder
  • Kensington
  • Lauderdale
  • Scott Robertson
  • Rosslyn

Westlawn area:

  • Glendale
  • Westlawn
  • Afton
  • Sherwood

Public consultation meetings begin Thursday, March 10 at Britannia School to discuss the future of Brightview, Britannia, Mayfield and Youngstown Schools.

Those with children at Athlone, Calder, Kensington, Lauderdale, McArthur, Rosslyn and Scott Robertson Schools are asked to attend a public meeting on Monday, March 14 at Rosslyn School.

Those with children at Afton, Glendale, Sherwood and Westlawn Schools are asked to attend a public meeting on Tuesday, March 15 at Westlawn School.

All of the meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit Edmonton Public Schools’ website.

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News.