Rocky View County school facing potential closure after lease ends in 2019
Editor’s note: This story originally said Prince of Peace Lutheran School was a private school. It has been corrected to reflect that it is a public school.
A public school in Rocky View County, east of Calgary, is facing potential closure after its lease is expected to expire by the end of the school year.
Prince of Peace Lutheran School has until next year to decide its next steps, which could include purchasing the building.
SAGE Properties, the school’s landlord, is trying to sell the land and the building when the lease ends. The school has the option of purchasing the property, but according to Rocky View Schools, at “the current price and evaluation,” it is unlikely the school would be able to buy it.
The price tag is estimated at around $9 million. There are also major deficiencies that will require fixing, which includes repairing the roof, upgrading the HVAC system and the drinking water system, pegged at an additional $4 million.
“It is not at a level we would be able to do,” said Todd Brand, the chair of Rocky View Schools’ board of trustees.
The school also requested financial support from the government, but both requests were denied.
In a statement, Alberta Education said it has no budget to buy the building. As well, it typically doesn’t purchase land for future schools.
“I encourage Rocky View Schools to continue working collaboratively with the local municipality and education staff in developing the jurisdiction’s three-year capital plan and identifying a site that is ready for a future school project in Chestermere,” reads a statement from Education Minister David Eggen.
The other option for the school is to renegotiate a lease with SAGE Properties. However, no deal has been reached. The school said it is also looking at an idea that would see 147 students move to a new school in Rocky View County. The remaining 322 students from Calgary would need to relocate to a closer school.
Parents and students at the school told Global News they are trying to remain positive but there is a lot of uncertainty in the air.
“It’s pretty upsetting,” said Michelle Robinson, who has a child that attends the school. “It really puts you in a vulnerable position… we don’t talk a lot about Plan B because we don’t what’s going to happen.”
“Anxiety is taking over because we love the school so much,” said Grade 8 student Loveleen Mavi. “We want to stay with our friends.”
“It’s like a second home,” said Grade 8 student Brenna Black. “Coming here is fun, [to] see all your friends. I’ve been here since preschool.”
Four-hundred-sixty-nine students attend Prince of Peace Lutheran School.
The board has a target date of Feb. 7 to make a final decision.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.