Sarah’s letter

Oct. 22, 2013

Dear Aleanna Young, and the Regina School Board Trustees,

I am deeply saddened at the Regina School Board’s recent decisions regarding École Connaught Community School. This old school, located in the middle of the thriving Cathedral area, deserves another chance. Your decision to not give this beautiful school heritage designation, and the previous decisions to not fight to keep an architectural centrepiece as a school for our children is a mistake.

When my husband and I moved to Regina from Quebec more than six years ago, we chose Cathedral as the area that we would like to live. We found (and find) it to be artistically thriving, with a diverse community and socioeconomic profile, and a tremendous support for all things cultural: exactly the kind of place I would like my three young children to live, grow, and go to school. I am devastated that somehow our school board has decided to not save this old and beautiful school, especially surrounded by such a vibrant community who cares about it so deeply.

While I do understand that two estimates by independent assessors were made with a difference of $4M between a renovation/addition vs a new build, I cannot believe that such an enormous job would have just two assessments. I personally had more than 10 estimates by different contractors/companies when my home basement in Cathedral needed foundation work!

There are contractors, engineers, and conservation specialists with extensive backgrounds in historical renovations (ie: Government House as I recall) who spoke at a Connaught SCC meeting several months ago, who have offered their services to the Cathedral community to give another assessment of Connaught school. They cannot do this without being given permission by the school board to have a day at the school to do proper assessments. From what I understand, the assessments you were given were biased, being contracted by the school board, under the thumb of, and in alignment with our conservative government. Perhaps hearing another perspective might give some balance to this situation. It states clearly in the P3A for Connaught, that the public’s greatest concern was to “conserve the building” over any other. Don’t you feel it is your due diligence to look into these costs a little more broadly to respect the community’s wishes and make peace with future steps?

On behalf of everyone who loves architecture, education, Canadian history and cultural inheritance, I plead with you to reconsider the decisions made around École Connaught Community School. Our school board will have made a huge mistake if a new school is built and the Cathedral community will suffer a great loss.

Thank you,

Sarah Truszkowski, BFAH, B.Ed., M.Ed., parent of three, artist, and Connaught SCC Vice-Chair (written on my own behalf and not that of any group).

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