The City of Red Deer is a step closer to taking ownership of the Central Elementary School building to turn it into a cultural hub after first being used as downtown headquarters for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
The municipal planning commission approved a subdivision request from Red Deer Public Schools to divide the land at 5121 48th Ave. into two lots. One lot now contains Central Elementary School building, and the other lot has Central Middle School, and Red Deer Public Schools’ administration building.
Central Elementary was most recently occupied by Gateway Christian School, but has been leased out as office space since 2013.
Some staff with the 2019 Canada Winter Games have already moved into the building.
Canada Games Celebration Plaza is to be located in the outdoor space to the west of the building that will provide long-term celebration space in the heart of the city.
Ownership has yet to be transferred to the city, but Red Deer City Council previously voted to buy the historic red brick building for a dollar from the school district.
Bruce Buruma, director of community relations with Red Deer Public Schools, said the school board sees the building as belonging to the community.
“We no longer have a need for it,” Buruma said.
“The community has use for that building, and we think it’s a pretty exciting use for that building, so we want to turn that over the city that will make those possibilities happen.”
Central Middle School, which is located directly east, will continue operating as a school and will not be affected.
The city will have to apply for a city permit to upgrade the building and construct the plaza.