UPDATE - Mayor Tara Veer, along with representatives from the 2019 Canada Games Host Society gave an update on the revitalization project at Central Elementary School. Erin Fawcett/Red Deer Express

Video: Games Celebration Plaza well underway

Red Deer’s Central Elementary School being revitalized for purpose

The 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society and the City of Red Deer held a joint press conference this morning to give an update on the Central Elementary School Revitalization Project.

The project, which is currently underway with renovations taking place until summer 2018, will be the Celebration Plaza during the 2019 Canada Winter Games. After the Games, which will take place in February 2019, the facility will be used for the City’s Culture Services department.

“We are preserving a heritage building in Red Deer’s downtown with the intent to re-purpose it into a vibrant community and cultural centre that is possible as a result of a partnership between the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society and Red Deer Public Schools to save this heritage resource,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “The day after the Winter Games this building will be re-purposed for Culture Services. Right now Culture Services is located in the suburbs of Red Deer, so we will bring those services back downtown. Moving culture services back into the hear of downtown will bring activity and revitalization back to our downtown.”

Recently, City council approved burying powerlines along 48th Ave. Through a wider sidewalk, lighting, landscaping, street furniture and pageantry, there will be improved pedestrian connectivity from this future cultural hub to Ross Street, City Hall and to downtown as a whole.

Lyn Radford, board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society said the Celebration Plaza will play a key role come Games time.

“A gathering place to have the festival is what is really going to be an exciting part of the Games. This space will create that gathering space,” she said. “It’s somewhere where the athletes can come down and maybe receive their medals. It’s a place for the spectators to come and have some place to gather in the evenings. We’ll be hosting concerts every evening, both local and national names. This is where it’s all going to happen. We are very excited about it. It’s a very integral part of the Games.”