The first step in designing a new elementary school and community centre in the Albion area begins tonight, with a public consultation and workshop.
“It’s the first step, and it’s the big-idea phase,” said Kelly Swift, general manager of community development, parks and recreation.
The city is partnering with the school district to develop the school site on 104th avenue, building a new elementary school and community centre. They want public input as to what kinds of facilities should be located there.
“We’ll see what ideas come forward from the community,” said Swift.
Mayor Nicole Read said the process will be open-ended, but already there is talk about a facility to replace the Albion Hall – a building that was demolished five years ago.
The city has begun a separate process of borrowing up to $110 million to build recreation facilities, because council feels Maple Ridge hasn’t kept pace with the needs of the growing population. That funding could be used, and recreation projects dovetail into the partnership with the school district, said Read.
“There’s obviously going to be some synergies there,” she said.
Council identified a small theatre space, seating 100 to 150, as a potential new project, and it’s an example of the type of facility that would work at the site.
“I don’t think this would be a location for something larger, like a swimming pool,” said Read.
What amenities to locate at the school site will depend on public feedback Feb. 10, she added.
“I’d like to encourage people to come to the community engagement,” she said. “We’d like to see a huge turnout there.”
The proposed elementary school will be a neighbourhood learning centre, which could incorporate a range of programs. The public will see what is offered in other communities, but there will be no menu of options to choose from, said school district spokesperson Irena Pochop.
She said the public consultation will be augmented by an online survey, which will be offered beginning Feb. 11. On Feb. 25 there will be an open house presentation titled “Your Voice, Your Neighbourhood” to show the results of the online and workshop consultation. That will be held Feb. 25 from 6-9 p.m. at Samuel Robertson Technical. Pre-registration will open on Feb. 11.
The school district will have a proposal to the Education Ministry by next month.
The timeline from the early planning stages until a new school opens is typically 37 to 49 months.
The first workshop runs tonight at Albion elementary, from 6-9 p.m.
Because parking at Albion elementary is limited, shuttle service will be available from Albion Sports Park to the workshop. The service will start running at 4:45 and will run throughout the night until all parties have returned to their vehicles.