While the Kingsland School was declared surplus back in 2020 and eventually closed, the community hopes there are plans in place to at least keep the green space intact.
With the school located on a municipal reserve, the City of Calgary took ownership of the property. It’s been in the city’s land portfolio since April 2021.
“We immediately addressed safety concerns with the facility and moved forward with a building assessment once the responsibility for the facility moved to The City,” read a statement provided to LiveWire Calgary.
Recent vandalism at the southwest Calgary site has forced the city to barricade the perimeter while the next steps are determined. Windows have also been boarded up to prevent vandals from breaking the glass.
A building assessment has been done on the Kingsland School, but the city said that document can’t be shared. It’s proprietary to a third-party engineering firm, they said.
“However, we can tell you that we have recently completed thorough assessments and we are determining next steps. We’ll be sharing these with the community in the coming weeks,” the city statement read.
Charlotte Quickel, president of the Kingsland Community Association said that the best-case scenario would be community revitalization and with that more children to populate the school.
The City’s population chart for the neighbourhood projects a 40 per cent population increase in the next 20 years.
Aside from that, Quickel said the community needs to preserve green space. She said their community green space ratio is slightly below the city average of around 10 per cent.
“That Kingsland school site is a very large chunk of green space sitting right in the heart of Kingsland, one that we care about a lot and definitely want to make sure is preserved in the future.”
Safety concerns raised
The city was pushed into action in December to secure the location from vandals.
Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said at first the vandalism wasn’t apparent. She said some vandals were accessing the top of the building. That’s one of the reasons the fencing was needed.
“That sort of became apparent through inspection, which is why the fencing is needed to really keep people off of this. Just due to safety concerns,” Penner said.
As for the site’s future, Penner said city plans were in the works. There was no direct need for a school in the area based on the area’s demographics. Chinook Park is the designated public school and there’s a Catholic elementary on the north side of the community.
Coun. Penner said the Kingsland community is invested in the site.
“They see it as a very valued and potential kind of like, mid-community anchor site that would ideally bring vibrancy and support the efforts of community building and community gathering,” she said.
“How that gets realized moving forward is really important to the neighbourhood.”
Quickel said the Kingsland School did have a history as a multi-use site. She said they want to see the building put to good use. But she leaned more toward the idea of preserving green space.
There’s redevelopment happening in the neighbourhood, Quickel said. With more multi-family units coming in, she said they don’t often have their own backyards.
“It makes the shared green space that we do have, like the specific site that we’re talking about, makes it even more treasured,” Quickel said.
It’s expected the City of Calgary will share future Kingsland School plans very soon.