The former Central Bow Valley School located at Gleichen will be demolished. The facility has sat vacant since 2016, after Golden Hills School Division passed a motion to close schools in Gleichen, Rockyford, Standard and Hussar in favour of the new regional school, Wheatland Crossing School.
Reeve Amber Link explained that the county engaged Stantec in 2009 to produce a report on the status of the facility. There are numerous issues with the facility, one being an estimated $300,000 repair that needs to be done to the roof. There are other structural issues like a damaged foundation.
She explained that each of the councillors completed a walk-through of the facility as well.
Originally on December 4, 2018 council brought forward a notice of motion about the demolition of the facility.
This week, representatives of a local community group and private individuals addressed council at the meeting to argue against the demolition of the facility.
Sid Holt proposed improvements to the community which could include moving a part of the downtown in Gleichen and re-purposing existing facilities so that they can be used for cafes, museums and other attractions.
“People are uncomfortable downtown,” he said of the atmosphere of vacant buildings and homeless people.
He asked the council to preserve the north end of the school. He spoke of using the space as a possible interpretive centre, or for adult education.
“There’s a great opportunity to provide those types of services,” he said.
Holt explained that with the loss of the building and lack of economic development in the area, there’s a sense of disillusionment by some in the community.
“We feel very much out of the picture,” he said.
“We would like to see a redevelopment of Gleichen‘s central service district,” he said.
He asked the council how they planned to bring industry into the community.
It was noted by council that there was no business plan presented by the group during the discussion.
“We are looking at a building from 1957 and buildings have life spans,” said Link.
“There are some major structure issues in that building that we can’t ignore,” she explained.