The City is now looking to annex the MacLean Elementary School Annex.
City council passed a motion Monday night during their regular meeting to reserve the right to purchase the MacLean School Annex from School District 20 by the end of the term.
In the motion, council hoped the money it could be handing over to the district for keeping grades 10-12 in Rossland would be considered full payment for the Annex if the City wished to exercise their right to purchase.
Although the idea of purchasing the Annex was not discussed in council—nor was a purchase price—the notion of losing the Annex once MacLean is closed in June was enough to galvanize council to action.
The motion was piggy-backed on the main motion to allow a rise in taxation if the school district would agree to keep the three senior high school grades in the city at Rossland Secondary School (RSS).
Maclean gymnasium is now extremely vulnerable with the recent decision to close the school, noted a City staff report to council.
“If Maclean is sold to the Francophone School, the recreation department hopes that we will have access to the gym,” the report read.
“If the Francophone School does not purchase Maclean, the building will be boarded up and we will have no access to the gym … (C)urrently the City does not own a building that has a gymnasium, theatre and classroom space.”
Owning the Annex would provide the City and the recreation department with stability for recreation and social programs and create opportunities to increase revenue through program creation.
If the City owned the building and the Francophone School was in MacLean, the lower floor of the Annex could be converted into a youth centre. The gymnasium space on the main floor would provide youth with space to organize sports, recreation, theatre performances, concerts and workshops.
If the City lost the use of the Annex, the gymnastics programs would cease to exist as it is dependent on having access to the gymnastics equipment.
The City does not own a comparable building in which the gymnastics equipment could be moved into.
RSS gymnasium is currently full with SD20 sports, recreation department programs and community access.
What the Annex is
The City has a reciprocal agreement with SD20 which allows access to the MacLean Elementary School Annex.
The Annex is a large gymnasium that is split in half by a large retractable curtain. One end of the gymnasium has a fully functioning stage, complete with stage lighting, heavy curtains and offstage entrance and exits.
The lower floor of the Annex is currently the Francophone School and houses approximately 50 students, children and administrators in dedicated classrooms.
The recreation department shares the custodial expense, heat and lighting and telephone line expense with the Francophone school. But there is no access during weekends, Pro-D days, spring break, summer or Christmas due to custodial contract.
The City’s recreation department places recreation programs into the Annex, including a social “gymnastics” program for toddlers and their parents. The City also uses the Annex as backup for any program that uses the Maclean Field, if the weather turns nasty, and as backup when the Miners Hall is not available.
The recreation department owns approximately $10,000 worth of gymnastics equipment that is permanently set up in the back half of the gym.