Construction on a new public school and library branch on Red Deer’s east end could get underway early this spring, say officials.
But the project’s start may hinge on whether a franchophone school gets civic approval on March 19.
The Timberlands School, an elementary kindergarten to Grade 5 school to be built in the new Timberlands subdivision at the east end of Timothy Drive and northeast of Timberstone Way, is among three P3 (public private partnerships) school projects that the province has planned for Red Deer.
Besides the francophone school under Greater North Francophone Education Region No. 2 , a kindergarten to Grade 5 school will open for Red Deer Catholic Regional Division in the 2014-15 school year.
Bruce Buruma, director of community relations for Red Deer Public School District, said the public school board didn’t want to comment on the proposed francophone school.
“But it’s all part of the construction project overall,” said Buruma on Thursday. “But as soon as it can go to tender and the way the weather is right now, we can have shovels in the ground pretty quick.”
City council will decide on March 19 whether a school site on Addington Drive in Aspen Ridge will be rezoned to accommodate a pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 school for up to about 300 francophone students. There has been widespread neighbourhood opposition, particularly over the high school component.
The public school district has initial elevation designs of the Timberlands School on its website. The school will have an initial capacity of 500 students and is designed for expansion to 600.
The school will include a separate entrance for a public library, the curved part of the building.
Dean Frey, director of Red Deer Public Library, said he’s excited about this library because it will be both a community public library as well as the school library. This is similar to the Dawe branch, also the school library for St. Patrick’s Community School.
Although a third of the size of the Dawe branch, it will have many of the same features, including program space for author readings, computer training and story time.
“We provided our input and we’re really pleased with the way the space is looking,” Frey said.