Elk Island Catholic Schools (EICS) and Strathcona County council have partnered up to modernize a local gym.
 
Built in 1967, École Père Kenneth Kearns Catholic School's gym is about half the standard size for a school of its size. When the school was approved by the province for a modernization, EICS approached the county to see if they were open to a partnership.
 
“We’ve listened closely to our community’s recent feedback on recreation and culture opportunities in the county and we heard that gymnasium space is ranked as one of the top five indoor spaces needed by user groups,” said mayor Rod Frank in a release.
 
On January 22, council approved $2.8 million in funding towards the expansion of the gymnasium, in addition to the $10.4 million EICS was already investing. The total cost is estimated to be around $13.2 million.
 
With the extra money, the school will be able to build a full regulation-sized gym, which will provide more opportunities for tournaments and community events.
 
As part of their agreement, the county requested a dedicated space for gymnasium equipment storage, fully accessible change rooms with showers, bleachers, a meeting space and an after-hours community entrance.
 
"This partnership addresses our community’s immediate recreation needs without having to pay full price for a stand-alone gymnasium on our own,” added Frank.
 
The extra 308 square metres added onto the gym will allow more than 1,000 hours for community use.
 
The space will be available to use on weeknights and Saturdays. Strathcona County will allocate time to community groups through its existing allocation process. As the facility owner, EICS will manage the asset and ongoing operational costs of the gymnasium.
 
"We're very appreciative of this partnership and ultimately it's going to yield huge benefits for both the educational but also the recreational community," said Ryan Stierman, secretary treasurer for EICS.
 
Construction is expected to begin in the summer, with a targeted completion date of fall 2021.

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