To determine the future of the recently acquired school building located on Powell St., Rocky View Schools (RVS), plans to hold two public meetings and an online engagement campaign to help gather information on how to best utilize the space.
RVS acquired the building in September 2022 from the Calgary Catholic School Division. It was formerly occupied by Holy Spirit School, which relocated to a new building in Fireside in September.
The school is currently undergoing a $2.8 million restoration in order to have the space ready for students by next September. The building currently has space for about 330 students.
Parents, guardians and community members are invited to provide their input Jan. 26 at Manachaban School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and March 2 at Mitford School/Cochrane Christian Academy from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Online feedback and a series of options for the accommodation plan will also be provided starting on Jan. 27, on RVS’ new online engagement platform, RVSEngage.com. All feedback will be accepted until March 23 at 5 p.m.
Stakeholders will also have the opportunity to present to the RVS board during their public meeting on March 23. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the RVS Education Centre in Airdrie. Those wishing to present are asked to submit a request no later than March 17 to Greg Luterbach, RVS’ superintendent of schools, at 2651 Chinook Winds Drive, Airdrie, T4B 0B4 or via email at [email protected].
The RVS board will use the information received from the upcoming engagement initiatives to determine an accommodation plan for the school on Powell St. at their public meeting on April 27, but the date is subject to change. A notice regarding any decision made at the meeting will be issued to all stakeholders.
Chair of Rocky View Schools, Norma Lang, said the plan is to welcome as many local perspectives as possible to share information, hypothesize potential scenarios for the school, and set up an opportunity for parents to provide feedback.
“We have several people who volunteered to be small-group facilitators and our hope is if we get a really great turn-out, that we would split parents and guardians into small groups with a facilitator,” Lang said. “It gives them a lot of chance for dialogue, and discussion.”
The recently elected board chair said this gives parents and guardians the chance to talk in depth about scenarios that have been put together by RVS’ operations department and explore new ideas.
“Our board is very excited to add another school into the division in Cochrane and we do have a critical need for more space for students there,” Lang said.
The school has a unique challenge moving forward, as its location is no longer near any young students. Lang said the division needs to come up with ideas on how to appropriately populate the school.
“We certainly want to do that in collaboration with the community, so we can hear their ideas and make sure what is proposed, and make sure the future use of the school, is the best fit scenario,” she said.
With past experiences dealing with the Cochrane community, Lang said it is filled with people who are highly engaged with local matters.
“I expect we will have a good turn-out and we have just seen, over the last few months, quite a bit of interest,” she said. “So, we’re hopeful there’ll be a good turnout, and people will come because they have a vested interest in their community and putting infrastructure to the best possible use.
“Or they might see their child will be directly impacted by this, depending on what type of scenario comes up moving forward.”