Calgary’s public school system is looking at innovative ways to build schools — including trades with real estate developers.
Earlier this month, the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) put three inner-city schools up for sale. The board said it would consider having developers build schools in new communities in exchange for Chief Crowfoot Elementary School, 2634 12th Ave. N.W., Bridgeland Elementary, 414 11A St. N.E., and Victoria School and Victoria Bungalow, 411 11th Ave. S.E.
“We would like to see from the developers what the interest is . . .” said Lawrence Bortoluzzi, director of student accommodation for the CBE. Such a deal could be an innovative model for the province.
Any developer-built school would have to be built to CBE standards. The board would want a low-maintenance building that will last for a long time. The builders could be creative in the architectural treatment.
|Business Edge photo|
|Bridgeland Elementary is one of several schools being offered to developers in exchange for schools in new communities.|
Bortoluzzi said the CBE has nine new schools approved, but has 30 communities desperate for schools.
In 1999, Tirion Properties built a school for the CBE in the Hamptons. “In the Hamptons, it’s hard to see any downside. That community was serviced earlier than it would have been, if ever,” says Paul Taylor, chairman of the Urban Development Institute in Calgary and member of a provincial committee on school lands.
Taylor, vice-president of Hopewell Developments, says the committee will look at where school lands come from and whether the province should buy them, as many states and provinces do.
Alberta developers have been required to set aside 10 per cent of neighbourhoods for community use. Seventy to 80 per cent of that usually goes for schools and 20 to 30 per cent for parks.
The committee’s other two themes are sustainability of schools in terms of materials and specifications, and functionality. Functionality is when other uses, such as fire halls or libraries, can be included in the school building and what other uses a building could have later if it doesn’t remain a school forever.
Arthur Wong, vice-president of Genesis Land Development Corp., said that for his company, a school-building deal would partly depend on what commercial or multi-family use was nearby in the suburb.
Genesis did put services in early to part of its Canals of Airdrie subdivision so the school district could put up a school. The housing went in later. The Calgary Catholic School District has no plans for developer-built schools, says spokeswoman Carmen Chrumka.
The growing school system has three schools opening this month: Bishop O’Byrne High School in Shawnessy, St. Elizabeth Seton Elementary-Junior High in Hidden Valley and Msgr. J.J. O’Brien Elementary-Junior High in Bridlewood.
Next year it will open an elementary-junior high in Chestermere; four schools including a junior-senior high school in Cochrane the following year; and in 2004 a high school in Coventry Hills.
The schools coming after this year still have to go through the board’s naming process.
Smed International has signed with AxisPort Inc. (XP-CDNX) to offer its employees moving benefits through Relocare.
Relocare provides referenced referrals to real estate agents and other service providers in the area where an employee wants to move. It takes no money from the employee or employer, but makes its money through real estate referral fees.
A Calgary e-business company has announced more revenue and lower losses in its second fiscal quarter.
Home Media Corp., which trades on the CDNX, had operating revenue of $226,686, up 39 per cent from the previous quarter. Its net loss was $359,719 or two cents a share, down from $554,490 the previous quarter.
Home Media Corp. helps companies web-enable their operations. It works with the real estate development, automotive and municipal service industries.
The value of building permits issued in Calgary jumped 36 per cent last month, compared to a year earlier.
The city issued permits worth $193.3 million in July 2001, compared to $142.6 million in 2000. Residential permits were up 21 per cent, to $114.5 million from $94.3 million.
Non-residential permits jumped 63 per cent to $78.8 million from $48.4 million in July 2000.
Permits issued for the year to date are worth $1.19 billion, a decrease of six per cent from $1.26 billion in the first seven months of 2000.
The city notes that building permits show the intentions of the industry and are not construction starts.