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Council approves funding for Westbrook School gym

A redeveloped Westbrook School will include an expanded gymnasium, thanks in part to funding from Rocky View County (RVC). At a regular meeting Nov.
New and Improved
A replacement school in Westbrook will feature an expanded gymnasium, after Rocky View County council granted a funding request for $100,000 at a meeting Nov. 27.

A redeveloped Westbrook School will include an expanded gymnasium, thanks in part to funding from Rocky View County (RVC). At a regular meeting Nov. 27, council approved a capital funding request of $100,000 to allow the school to construct a gym with spectator seating for tournaments and special events. According to Susan de Caen with Recreation and Community Services, RVC received the funding application from Friends of Westbrook School Society (FWSS) – the fundraising arm of Westbrook School. On Oct. 23, council directed administration to send a letter of notification to Rocky View Schools (RVS), requesting a meeting of the Reserves Coordinating Committee – a joint committee consisting of representatives of the County and the school board. The committee met Nov. 16, de Caen said, and recommended council approve the funding request. The meeting clarified if the request was approved, recreation tax dollars in the Public Reserve would be used for funding, and no further request for operational funding would be forthcoming from FWSS. Colette Winter, RVS’s director of Facility Planning, said the expanded gymnasium is part of a self-funded project by the school division to build a replacement school in Westbrook. “RVS is putting in $4 million for a new school,” Winter said. “We had had it on the capital plan for Alberta Education to pay for a new school, because we saw the need. It was on the plan for a capital priority for years and years and years, and we realized, within RVS, the chance of Westbrook actually getting a new school would just not come to be, because there’s so much growth happening in the rest of RVS.” The new school was originally designed with a gymnasium to meet Alberta Education specifications, Winter said, but community consultations revealed a desire for a gym that could accommodate spectators. The proposed expansion would provide an additional 70.4 square metres to the existing gym plan at a cost of $200,000, de Caen said. Expanding the gymnasium and adding bleachers will allow the school to host tournaments and special events, and will enable the community to use the gym for special events during off-school hours, year-round. “RVS has agreed to loan FWSS a matching $100,000 towards this project, with an understanding that the society will apply for grant funding and fundraise over the next five-plus years to repay this loan,” de Caen said. A motion by Coun. Kevin Hanson to approve the funding request was unanimously supported by council. “It’s great to see the school board is working with the communities so we can start using facilities,” said Deputy Reeve Al Schule. Couns. Samanntha Wright and Crystal Kissel were absent from the meeting.

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