The City of Swift Current is providing a small portion of land for the addition of four new classrooms at the joint-use school facility in the northeast area of the city.
Councillors approved the transfer of approximately 0.08 acres of land to the two school divisions during a regular council meeting on June 1, which took place via videoconference.
This small piece of land is subdivided from City-owned land destined for the future integrated leisure facility next to the joint-use school facility.
City General Manager of Planning and Development Marty Salberg told the meeting the Chinook School Division and Holy Trinity Roman Catholic School Division have received provincial funding for four new classrooms to address current student capacity and projected future enrolment.
“In consultation with the City, the optimal location of these classrooms was determined to be within an area of City-owned land,” he said. “Originally, this area would have been for the portion of the connecting corridor between the schools and the future leisure facility. To accommodate the new classrooms, the City and the school divisions have agreed to re-divide the two properties and transfer approximately 0.08 acres of the City’s land to the school divisions.”
This piece of land extends out from the City-owned land to create a connection with the Ecole Centennial School and All Saints Catholic School buildings. Councillors therefore felt it made sense to use that small portion of land for the addition of classrooms.
Salberg said after the meeting during an online media briefing that this subdivision and the use of the land for classrooms will not have any effect on the planned corridor to link the future integrated leisure facility with the schools.
“It fits real closely with what the original concept was going to be,” he noted. “This has always going to be the corridor link between the schools and the integrated facility. It will just now have four classrooms attached to it, which will still allow for that corridor to bring the students straight into the integrated facility. We've had our consultants review it all and there are absolutely no problems with how this can fit within the leisure facility.”
The City submitted a grant funding application in March to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) for the construction of an integrated leisure facility with an aquatic centre, field house and atrium.
“We're waiting word from both the federal government and the provincial government as to when they're going to allocate the ICIP funds to the various projects that everybody submitted, and that's supposed to come out sometime this summer, as to whose projects are going to be successful,” City Chief Administrative Officer Tim Marcus said during the media briefing. “As always, we're hopeful that our project will move forward, but without grant funding to help us construct that facility it would be tough for the City to manage it on its own.”
The City is hopeful the wide support from the community and surrounding municipalities for the integrated facility will make a difference in its grant application for ICIP funds. The grant application included over 100 letters of support from surrounding municipalities and close to 100 letters of community support.
“We're very thankful that all our municipal partners provided letters of support in favour of moving a facility forward that would truly benefit everybody in the region in the southwest,” he said. “Currently in order to be able to access facilities like that, they have to drive several hours in order to do what they would be able to do here.”
The original plans for an integrated leisure facility included an art gallery and a public library, but the City has reviewed the design to make the project more affordable. The grant application for ICIP funds is therefore for the initial phase of the facility, which will consist of an aquatic centre, a field house and an atrium.
“Our current aquatic facility is reaching the end of its useful life and so it needs to be replaced at some point in time,” he said. “It makes sense to replace with a true leisure aquatic facility that benefits everyone, as well as the field house is a facility that would benefit everybody from soccer to basketball to volleyball to quite a few things that can take place in a facility that size.”
While a new art gallery and public library are excluded from the revised plan, the City’s intention is to add these amenities to the integrated facility during a future phase of the development. Marcus did not expect that the development of the integrated facility in phases will have a significant impact on the overall cost of the project.
“It may in that you're putting up a wall that you would be removing when you add on to it, but overall, it doesn't really change the cost of the other phases when they're added on. It's minor in terms of what the change would be.”