Elbow Park School to be restored, CBE says

The Calgary Board of Education now says it will restore flood-damaged Elbow Park School, rather then demolishing and rebuilding. The announcement has pleased heritage advocates.

Flood-damaged heritage building gets reprieve from planned demolition

The exterior of Elbow Park School will be maintained. (CBC)

The Calgary Board of Education has decided against tearing down Elbow Park School and will instead restore the building. 

The school was slated to be demolished after sustaining major damage in last year's flood of the Elbow River. The interior was deemed unsafe and unusable. The facade was not damaged.

The CBE had said that rebuilding would be cheaper and offer better protection against future floods. 

However, the board has now unveiled plans to preserve the existing facade of the 1926 building, built in the Tudor Revival style.

At an estimated cost of $16.5 million, the proposed renovation will maintain three of the exterior walls, raise the floor level and allow for construction of a new gymnasium. The renovations would put the building beyond the reach of the 500 year flood plain of the nearby Elbow River

Scott Joliffe, chair of the Calgary Heritage Authority, had been advocating for the preservation of the school building.

"We're pleased that this has taken a new direction and we think a better direction," he said.

"The CBE's consulting architect on this project has agreed with us that it would be a real shame to destroy the heritage structure," said Joliffe, adding "it's a pretty magical piece of architecture." 

The cost of the restoration will be covered by provincial funding, a flood restoration grant and insurance, according to the CBE. 

The CBE said it hopes to have the permits in place in a couple of months and begin the restoration soon afterwards.