We’re Getting a New School! We’re Getting a New School!
This is an amazing story of urban renewal taking place right in our neigbourhood. It will affect half of the children currently in elementary school, but the biggest impacts are to the youngest children, and those children still to come. They need to be part of the journey! Please forward this story or a link to the Lakeview Community Association website to all the new parents, expecting parents, or future parents in the neighbourhood — they need to be part of the discussion!
Residents of Regina’s Lakeview neighbourhood are embarking on an exciting journey this spring, as they work to design a school for the future in our older neighbourhood. It’s part of Regina Public Schools‘ 10 year renewal plan, which will renovate, refresh and combine several schools around the city over the next decade.
At a meeting to kick off the planning process on February 11th, parents and community members from the three public schools in Lakeview — Athabasca School, Argyle School, and Lakeview School — got the low down on a vision for investment in our community unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime: the replacement of two 50+ year old schools with a school designed around the needs of 21st century children. Attendees received an overview on the range of future education needs, various ways children learn, and how the needs of tomorrow are different from the schools of the past. They also discussed how modern school design can support these new learning requirements and be flexible to adapt to more changes in the future.
The presentation was led by Randy Fielding of Fielding Nair International, an internationally renowned architecture and design firm who specialize in building schools for the new Creative Age. Fielding Nair have been involved in over 200 school renovations and new school designs in 26 countries, from Nunavut to Tasmania to Regina, most recently with Regina’s North Central Shared Facility.
The stories and designs shared by Mr. Fielding were amazing to behold. In school after school on every continent, Mr. Fielding explained how adjusting room sizes, combining private and public spaces and integrating indoors and outdoors (even in cold climates!) could enhance the education of children of all ages. From large k-12 facilities in Indonesia, to remodeled schools in Minneapolis, to new learning centres in Rhode Island, attendees saw an overwhelming range of possibilities.
The meeting kicked off the next phase of a renewal process that has been going on for 3 years already. This phase gets down to business — visioning sessions for a new facility in March, potential site plans in June, final decisions in October, then construction, with a planned Grand Opening in September 2012.
The current RPS Renewal Plan calls for Athabasca School and Argyle School to combine around a new or renovated facility. At the February 11 meeting, school board administrators stated that while facilities reviews are still underway, it’s looking like neither structure will support the level of renovation that is expected, which means a new school would be built.
Lakeview School is not officially included in this stage of the renewal plan (the school will be reviewed toward the end of the 10 year plan) but many current Lakeview parents attended the meeting. Given the open boundary policy employed by RPS, it’s unclear how many students in the Lakeview School ‘serving area’ might rather attend a new, modern school once it is built.
Over the coming month, all community members are encouraged to get informed about and involved with this exciting new project. We have the opportunity to build a school that will be the envy of all Regina, that can be a huge attraction for existing residents and new families looking to locate in Regina. Let’s leave a lasting legacy for the next generation of students!
Photos are from Fielding Nair International. The main picture is of a community design session for the new North Central Shared Facility in Regina. The headline is a conceptual design of a small school in Rhode Island.
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