At Monday’s regular meeting, City council will consider entering into a partnership with the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society and Red Deer Public School District to repurpose Central Elementary School and develop the Canada Games Celebration Plaza.
“This is an exciting opportunity to develop a cultural centre in the heart of Red Deer’s downtown that will serve the community for decades to come and also protect a historically significant building,” said Craig Curtis, City manager.
“Collaborating with The City and the Red Deer Public School District to repurpose Central Elementary School and develop the Canada Games Celebration Plaza will create a great community legacy that will remain in Red Deer following the 2019 Canada Winter Games,” said Scott Robinson, chief executive officer of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Red Deer Public School District has offered Central Elementary School to be purchased by the City of Red Deer for $1. Central Elementary School (also known as Gateway Christian School) was constructed in 1939 and is one of Red Deer’s most significant historical sites. The building was closed as a school in 2013 and currently houses tenants leasing office space.
If council approves the partnership to repurpose Central Elementary School and construct the Canada Games Celebration Plaza, it is intended that the building will be used as the 2019 Canada Winter Games headquarters leading up to and during the Games. The Canada Games Celebration Plaza (to be located outside the west entrance of the school), is envisioned to be home to festival programming during the 2019 Games. Following The 2019 Canada Winter Games, it is anticipated that the building will be used for broader community use for lasting community benefit, including relocating Culture Services to the downtown with future operational partners and the plaza would provide a celebration space in the heart of the City.
“Central Elementary School has a distinguished history of providing quality education for thousands of Red Deer students,” said Stu Henry, superintendent of schools. “As our community has grown, the need for schools in the downtown core has diminished. We welcome the opportunity to re-purpose this great old school and have it become a community legacy to support arts, culture and sports but more importantly, to become a focal point for downtown Red Deer.”