Public school trustees consider plan to consolidate four Edmonton schools into two

Edmonton public school trustees will decide on Tuesday whether to approve a $43-million proposal to consolidate four aging schools into two. If approved, Youngstown and Brightview schools would be closed.

Scenario under consideration would close Youngstown and Brightview schools

Brightview and Youngstown schools would be closed under a proposal recommended by Edmonton Public Schools administration to consolidate four aging schools in the city's northwest. (Edmonton Public Schools )

Edmonton public school trustees will decide on Tuesday whether to approve a $43-million proposal to consolidate four aging schools in several mature neighbourhoods — Canora, Britannia-Youngstown and Mayfield  — located just west of downtown.

Edmonton Public Schools administration is recommending construction of two new schools to replace Brightview, Youngstown, Britannia and Mayfield Schools.

Brightview and Youngstown will be closed under this scenario, which is one of three scenarios reviewed at five public meetings earlier this year.

One school would be built on the site of Britannia School at 160th Street and 104th Avenue for students from kindergarten to Grade 9. The other would be a new pre-kindergarten to Grade 3 school on the site of Mayfield school, at 159th Street and 109th Avenue.

Five public meetings were held in the spring to look at three final concepts. None of the scenarios involved building a replacement for Brightview School in the Canora neighbourhood.

That is a concern for Shelagh Dunn, the trustee for the area.

"There are some socially vulnerable kids that live in that community," Dunn said. "And it would mean that there is a stretch of communities there that don't have access to a walkable school."

Update would cost $35.5M

The option recommended by administration came after two years of consultations with affected communities.

There were two other concepts. One would involve building a single, two-level pre-kindergarten to Grade 9 school on the Britannia site.

The other concept had a pre-kindergarten to Grade 3 school built on the Youngstown site and a new school at Britannia for grades 4 to 9. The new building would sit on top of a portion of the old one. 

According to the report, this concept reflects feedback showing the communities wanted a K-to-9 school. It also keeps one school north of 107th Avenue, which makes it safer for children to walk from home.

The Mayfield site could become both a "centre of excellence" for early childhood development and a community hub, said the report.

Britannia is currently a school for students in Grades 7 to 9. Brightview, Mayfield and Youngstown have classes for kindergarten to Grade 6.

Three of those schools are underused. The four buildings range in age from 50 to 59 years old and would cost $34.5 million to update and repair.

Even if repairs went ahead, the report states, "the schools would still be laid out and function like a school built in the 1950s."  

If construction goes ahead, children at Mayfield would have to attend school elsewhere as the building would have to be built on the existing footprint.

The site of Britannia school is bigger. A decision on whether those students have to move would be made after a design is finalized.