Old school in East Hill demolished; call for more housing

By Glenn Hicks
September 6, 2018 - 5:00pm

The end of an era. That's how the Prince Albert Roman Catholic School Division is describing the demolition of the old St. Joseph School building on 22nd Street East which is currently underway.

Crews are on site ripping apart the main building that has been dormant for decades and became an eyesore on that part of the East Hill.

“It’s always sad when it’s the end of an era but the building had been decommissioned 25 to 30 years ago, so it hasn’t been in use,“ Director of Education Lorel Trumier told paNOW. "It’s time we make sure we have the best facility there for the work we need to do, and maintain a nice aesthetic for the community.”

By Thursday the wrecking crew took down much of the back of the building and a pile of rubble was also mounting up in front.

The older part of the site, built in 1952, is expected to be gone by next week but the smaller maintenance section to the eastern side will remain.

“There will be a complete removal of all the old wood and concrete and we will replenish the green space around the site,” Trumier said. “Our existing maintenance facility will remain for repairs of desks and cold storage of products used in our schools.”

She noted that building would be spruced up externally adding to the overall better look of that corner.

Councillor Dennis Nowoselsky in whose Ward 7 the site is located, said he is happy to see the demolition and figures now’s the time for the city to make a move on that land for housing.

“I think [the demolition] is a progressive move and the city should be negotiating with the school board to purchase the extra vacant property so houses can be built there,” he said.”It’s a nice residential area with other schools nearby and younger families; the East and West Hill are the heart of the city.”

Nowoselsky said he’d be bringing the matter up at the next council meeting and it has been discussed before. Despite the current recessed housing market he figured now is the time to get going with land purchase negotiations with the school division.

Regardless of what may happen long term, the immediate freshening up on that corner of 22nd Street East and Third Avenue East isn’t lost on Kevin Wouters, the broker-owner of Century 21 Prestige Real Estate.

“That property has been looking somewhat neglected for a number of years and having it gone and making that space greener is a great idea,” he said. “Any kind of improvement in an area will help make it more appealing and a nicer place to live in general and help real estate values.”


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