High school students from the public, Catholic and francophone school districts might one day share facilities — including community sports fields — in a “campus style” development in northeast Red Deer.
That vision is set out in a proposed Northeast High Schools and Play Fields Area Structure Plan, which was endorsed by the city’s municipal planning commission on Wednesday. The commission forwarded the plan to city council for consideration.
The plan area consists of nearly 56 acres of city-owned land northeast of where 67th Street and 30th Avenue will intersect following their future realignment. The eastern portion of the parcel would be earmarked for high school construction, which is expected to occur over the next 10 to 25 years.
The commission was told that work on a new Red Deer Regional Catholic School Division high school is expected to begin next year, with Red Deer Public School District anticipating another public high school by around 2020. A high school for Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord likely won’t be required for 20 years or more.
Three rectangular, competitive sports fields are tentatively planned, with these to be developed west of the schools on a phased basis. The commission heard that the fields would be designed and built to a standard suitable for provincial-level sports tournaments and track events.
The sports fields would be used by the high schools and by members of the broader community. A “community gathering area” near the schools is also contemplated, and a nearby wetlands area will be preserved.
Although the three schools would share some facilities, they’d each also have private space to ensure their identities are maintained, said Planning Department documents.
All three school boards have expressed support for the plan. A June 26 public open house did not generate comments.
The Northeast High Schools and Play Fields Area Structure Plan would fall within Red Deer’s East Hill Major Area Structure Plan. That plan has adopted nine neighbourhood planning principles, including the development of unique neighbourhoods, integrated parks and community spaces, mixed land uses and natural areas.
“I think we have a fantastic opportunity,” said Coun. Ken Johnston of the benefits the sports fields would bring to the city.
Coun. Dianne Wyntjes commented on the value of the city working with the three school districts.
“I think it’s really great to see the collaboration between our francophone, Catholic and public schools.”