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Wednesday, 11 May 2011 20:50

City purchases option on land for proposed joint schools

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Chinook and Holy Trinity Catholic School Divisions are one step closer to having their shared facility come to a reality thanks to the City of Swift Current.



At its council meeting May 2, Swift Current’s councillors voted in favour of purchasing a six-month exclusive first option to purchase land in the northeast corner of the city near the Cypress Regional Hospital.

The City paid a $25,000 deposit for the 40 acres of land with the option to pay $425,000 before Sept. 30 every year through 2015 if it wishes to purchase the parcel.

Both school divisions require between 10 and 11 acres for their schools, meaning at least half of the land will likely be used for the proposed joint schools.

Now that there appears to be land selected for the proposed schools, the two divisions can move ahead with their proposals.

“Whenever you are planning a facility and you get the go ahead to go into the real drawing part, the first thing you have to do is figure out where the land will be,” said Celeste York, Holy Trinity’s director of education. “That’s where we really needed the City to work with us. We couldn’t move ahead any further with our planning. Our first big goal was to look at some land.

“This location works well for us because, being the Catholic School system, we want to be close to the church. That land on the north side close to the hospital, that parcel is quite close to Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church. Because we do so many functions together, that really works in our favour.”

Holy Trinity and Chinook will both begin community consultations to decide how they want to move forward with the projects now that an option has been purchased on the land.

Chinook’s consultations will also include meeting with residents of the south side of Swift Current to decide the grade configuration of Fairview School, which will house the south side’s elementary school students after École Oman closes.

The City will also hold public consultations to determine what the public would like to see happen with the rest of the land it purchased. The City has its own tentative plan to build a sports complex as well as move the library and pool to that area of the city.

Mayor Jerrod Schafer said the City won’t move ahead with its plans without hearing comments and concerns from the community first.

“Certainly, we could just forge ahead and do as we like, but prudent governance is why we want to take the idea and share the concept with our residents and taxpayers,” he said. “We want them to understand the reasoning why these organizations are working together and some of the efficiencies we gain and solicit some feedback –– whether it’s positive feedback, concerns and things like that.

“In our community, we’ve had both. We’ve had concern over it, although not all the information has been disseminated out there yet, but we’ve had lots of positive information coming in. There are organizations that want to be involved in the development of it.”

Representatives from the Chinook  and Holy Trinity school divisions are excited they can report to the provincial government where their proposed schools will be located.

“We are committed to building an integrated facility with Holy Trinity,” said Chinook’s Director of Education Liam Choo-Foo, whose division just received Stage 2 approval for its project from the provincial government. “If it’s part of an integrated facility, I think there will be benefits for all, but our commitment is to build a school.”

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