Inglewood indeed will be the site of a new elementary school set to open in 2016.
The Red Deer Public Schools board has approved administration’s recommendation to locate its forthcoming school build in the southeast neighbourhood. The location was proposed after plans to build in northeast Red Deer could not go ahead because the area is currently underdeveloped.
The build site will be what is presently an open green space at the southeast corner of Inglewood Drive and Irving Crescent, a site earmarked for a school in the 2004 neighbourhood area structure plan. The surrounding park space already features a playground, baseball diamond and outdoor rink.
President of the Anders Inglewood Community Association, Marlo Ruttan, said the board decision came as a bit of a surprise, but was overdue. When the public division was awarded provincial funding in 2011 for a new elementary school, it opted to build in Timberlands, a sparsely-populated area where significant future growth is expected.
“If you look at the area of Anders, Inglewood, Ironstone, Vanier, the new Sunnybrook — we have well over 10,000 homes. We have one elementary school, and it’s Catholic,” said Ruttan.
A realtor, Ruttan said the Inglewood neighbourhood is mostly made up of starter homes, which means a lot of young families. Not only is the Inglewood location ideal for area families, he said, it will also drive up property values.
Currently, students in the area are bused to Mountview Elementary School.
The division has been allocated $13.6 million for the school, and with the location confirmed, it will now send out a request for proposals for architectural services. Alberta Education has said it wants the school to open its doors for the start of the 2016/17 school year, which presents the division with a tight timeframe to build.
The division had initially wanted the school to be located north of the Garden Heights neighbourhood and west of Range Road 272, but that proposed site is still a farmer’s field void of any development. Among its backup sites, Inglewood was preferred to neighbourhoods like Aspen Ridge, Davenport and Timber Ridge.
The division will open a new elementary school in Timberlands later this year, and has in its capital plan a request for a kindergarten to Grade 8 school in Timber Ridge it wants by 2018. Board chair Bev Manning said the division needs elementary spaces “drastically,” and a new school in Inglewood will serve that purpose just as well as one far out in northeast Red Deer would have.
She said the division wants to hear from Inglewood residents so their needs can be incorporated into the new build.
“Basically what we’re looking at is the philosophical belief that schools belong to the community. They are public property. Our wish is to be able to open up that school in ways that our community would like to see us open it up,” said Manning.
Ruttan said the area residents he has spoken to are happy about the planned location and have shared ideas on how community members could make use of the facility.
The school will be designed to accommodate 500 students upon opening, with a plan to expand its capacity through modulars to 600 by 2020.