Teach-in will explore school options

Connaught family by Dakota McFazdeanFuture options for century-old Connaught School will be on the agenda at an informal community gathering at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre this Thursday evening.

The evening will feature a brief slide show presentation by building conservator June Botkin, who has been working with conservation experts across the country to study available information about Connaught School. As well, parents with children in new schools will describe their transitions to the school design concepts currently being promoted by Regina Public.

“We invite citizens to join a positive, forward-thinking conversation about future possibilities for Regina’s oldest public school,” said Rene Dumont, chair of Save Our Connaught Heritage.

Moose Jaw heritage advocate Brian Bell will explain how Moose Jaw integrates heritage into city and school planning. In September, Heritage Regina conducted a tour of three historic Moose Jaw schools that have been successfully renovated and maintained for significantly less than the $23 million renovation estimate for Connaught School.

Supporting Cathedral Area food merchants are providing a coffee and dessert bar, and attendees will have the opportunity to browse displays and talk with presenters one-on-one.

In October five of seven board members voted against pursuing heritage designation for the historic school, prompting a joint letter of protest to the board that was signed by more than 300 people. The board also received a letter from Heritage Canada urging them to reconsider their decision to replace rather than renovate the historic school.

A community petition has gained nearly 1,800 signatures calling for greater cooperation with the community, however so far the five trustees remain intractable, according to Dumont.  “That doesn’t mean we should shut down discussions at the community level,” he said.  “People have a right to determine the future of their public schools.”

The information evening will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre, 2900 13th Ave.

Handout: Rumours and Realities

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