The Revelstoke School District has hired two consultants as it prepares to sell off the old Mountain View Elementary site, with an aim of preserving the historic school building and some green space on the location.
The future of the 100-year-old school building is surely going to be of interest to the community.
Graham Farstad, a planner with the Arlington Group, and Donald Luxton, an expert on heritage preservation, will be consulting with the community to create re-development plans for the site.
For Luxton, this will mean figuring out ways to turn an old school into something else while preserving its look and character.
“Mountain View is a good example of a building that could be pretty adaptable because it has good high ceilings, big windows and large open spaces,” he said. “It may lend itself to a variety of purposes and that would be part of this exploration.”
This will mean looking at the building’s condition, its mechanical systems, electrical work, whether or not it’s up to code and more.
Farstad will be looking at the broader school site and will be looking at land-use plans that will incorporate the old school and also fit the character of the surrounding neighbourhood. This could involve residential use, but could also include commercial or institutional uses as well, he said.
“It’s a well serviced site,” he said. “I think there’s lots of opportunities that could provide a win-win scenario, and I think that’s probably the key message that we’re hoping to achieve through this process.”
The centre-piece of the site is the old school – the additions would likely be torn down and the original building preserved. Luxton said he would look at ways of preserving the authenticity of the building while coming up with uses that would best fit.
“If it’s a conservation project, that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to conserve materials and character and heritage value,” he said. “We’ll look at use that is a good fit and is least intrusive on the building.”
The City of Revelstoke’s planning department has also shown interest in the future of the site and has created its own conceptual drawings for the site. The land use is designated as T5 Open, which allows for a variety of land uses, from high density residential to retail to office space.
Whatever plans are developed, they will be subject to an open house at some point in the future. The goal is to create a land-use plan that would preserve the old school before selling the land.
“If you have some objectives to be achieved, you would have to narrow the concept so they wouldn’t be able to tear the building down the day after [a developer] acquires it,” said Farstad. “And ensure the resulting land-uses are in keeping with what vision is established as a result of the consultation process.”
The Revelstoke School District is expected to raise $2.4 million from the sale of old schools as part of the contract to build the two new schools in the community. It has begun the process of having the Big Eddy Elementary site rezoned as residential and intends to sub-divide that property into several lots.
Disposal of Mount Begbie Elementary – the third property the board intends on selling – will be dealt with after a plan is created for Mountain View Elementary.