Friday, 08 September 2017 06:46

Demolition and redevelopment of former Ashley Park school to start

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The demolition of the former Ashley Park school building is set to take place during September, after which the City of Swift Current will consult the community about the redevelopment of the site.

Councillors approved an additional $55,000 for the demolition of the building at a regular council meeting, Aug. 28.
The City of Swift Current acquired the Ashley Park and Oman school sites for $1 each from the Chinook School Division in 2015. The schools became vacant after the consolidation of school facilities in the city due to the construction of the École Centennial School in the city’s new joint-use school facility.
The City allocated an amount of $120,000 in the 2017 budget for the Ashley Park School demolition project, but the total cost of the project has increased to $175,000. According to Mitch Minken, the City’s general manager of infrastructure and operations, this is due to the higher cost of the contract to remove hazardous building material from the site.
“When we put the budget together, we had a pretty good idea what the demolition was going to cost,” he explained. “Unfortunately, it was difficult to estimate what the asbestos removal was going to be. The previous two that we did, it was kind of all over the map. So we sort of based it on the Oman School, being somewhat in the same age, but Oman School had a whole lot less hazardous materials to remove — so that was really the difference in this particular case.”
The cost of the Ashley Park School demolition project will be recovered when the property is redeveloped.
“The first step in the redevelopment of those properties is to get rid of the structure and remediate the site and ensure that it is all safe for redevelopment and then allow the planning and development folks to take over and start doing their public consultation on what those areas will look like in the future,” he said.
At the moment the nature of the future development is still unclear. The City’s infill guidelines require a public consultation process for any development proposals on the former school sites in Swift Current.
“The school area is kind of two parts — the main school and some athletic fields, particularly soccer and ball,” he said. “So I believe that certainly in the short term and likely in the long term the soccer field and the ball fields will stay. So the redevelopment area is probably just the area that’s associated with where the school building is itself.”
Minken noted the removal of the hazardous materials will be completed in early September and thereafter the school building will be demolished.
“The demolition contractors go pretty quick,” he said. “It will be a two-week project maximum. Chances are that we could be done in a week.”
Michael Ruus, the City’s general manager for planning and development, said the intention is to work simultaneously on the proposals for the future use of the Ashley Park and Oman school sites.
“Our team is really excited about working on this project in addition to Oman school site as well,” he mentioned. “We’re looking at kicking off these projects in the fall and winter of this year.”
The development of the proposals for these two school sites will involve public consultations with the community to determine their preferences and suggestions for the future use of the properties.
“We’re looking forward to going through the same process that we went through with the St. Joseph school site, which involves workshops with the immediate neighbourhood to make sure that their voices are being heard,” he said. “We’ll be using their feedback to directly create that development plan in addition with consultation with City staff members.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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