A new replacement school will be built in one of three mature neighbourhoods, Edmonton public school officials announced Wednesday.

The province is giving Edmonton Public Schools $20 million to build the brand new building which will replace three older schools.

Superintendent Darrel Robertson believes that the proposal presents a great opportunity.

“We really are hoping and aspiring to have a community that is excited about a replacement school that sees the value in it in terms of community development and community revitalization,” he said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

The neighbourhoods under consideration are Lawton (Lawton, R.J. Scott and Rundle schools), Westmount (Westmount, Coronation and Ingelwood schools) and Highlands (HIghlands, Montrose and Mount Royal schools).

One resident who has lived in Highlands for decades worries about losing the century-old Highlands Junior High School, currently at 20 per cent capacity.

"You want to stay with the character of the neighbourhood right?" said Nikki Chabot. "I'm sure a fabulous new school would be lovely, but it wouldn't have the character of this school.  For me it's just the character of the neighbourhood and for the kids to walk there  it's the neighbourhood, you know?"

But Montrose School volunteer Joanne Vlietstra is less sentimental when it comes to the elementary school in Highlands.

"This school is old, you know?" she said. "It would be nice to have a new school for sure.  These kids  anything they can get is good because they're special kids. 

"They would like to have a new school with better facilities."

The province has asked the board to make a decision by the end of June.  A recommendation will go to the board of trustees on June 24.

The board will hold public meetings about the new school in April, May and June. There will also be two online surveys on the school board’s website.

Which schools may be affected?

edm-school-closure-thumb

This map shows which schools might be consolidated. Red marks show the schools being considered, while blue marks show the locations of other public schools in Edmonton.