Special needs school move has Calgary looking for ideas for old facility
Varsity Acres residents tried unsuccessfully to sue CBE to block the move in 2014
Seventy special needs students will start the new year in a brand new school in Varsity Acres, leaving the old Christine Meikle School in Bridgeland available for redevelopment.
About a dozen residents attended an open house Wednesday evening to learn more, although the city says the options are wide open.
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The move didn't happen without pushback though as 30 Varsity Acre residents tried to block the new school by suing the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) in 2014.
They argued a special needs school would lower property values in the area.
That conflict, says board spokesperson Carrie Edwards, is in the past.
"We have worked collaboratively with the existing Varsity community to resolve any outstanding concerns and the school is well on its way and under construction," Edwards told CBC News.
CBE has leased the Bridgeland property from the city since 1969.
Edwards says the board successfully argued for funding for a new building in its three-year capital budget for 2014-2017.
If all goes as planned, roughly 70 students will start classes at the end of January 2017, although the new building can accommodate about 125 students in total.
The director of real estate and development services with the City of Calgary says the possibilities are endless.
"There are no notions or plans that have been started at this point," Doug Cassidy said.
"Through the planning process we will certainly seek to engage the community, the community association, the area councillor. Input from stakeholders will be important as we advance planning considerations."
Cassidy said the building could be included with development plans for adjacent properties.
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With files from Mark Matulis