The City of Saskatoon began development of the Willowgrove neighbourhood in 2003-2004. Willowgrove, in the north east sector of Saskatoon, is the development of 204 hectares of land into a residential neighbourhood designed to include a village centre, an integrated community centre, a core park, and a linear park system running through the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood will have an estimated population of 6600 to 8350 residents.
In 2002, City Council adopted in principle the concept of a community centre that provides key services and a place for citizens to interact as a building block for the neighbourhoods. In 2003 City Council adopted the provision of a community centre levy to fund the design and construction of an integrated community centre for the Willowgrove Neighbourhood.
The integrated community/
school facility will be built across from the Village Square, next to Wallace Neighbourhood Park. Wallace Park will have a softball field, soccer pitch and an open play area suitable for informal and programmed sports and games. A toboggan hill is located in the centre of the park and an accessible playground and future water feature is located immediately behind the integrated facility.
Willowgrove Schools Community Facility –
What’s Happened So Far?
The Community Services Department is now in the process of establishing plans for the design and construction of a community/school facility. The location of the community/school site is adjacent to the Wallace Core Park area and across from the village centre. Saskatoon Public Schools will be a significant partner with the City in the development of this centre.
The Willowgrove integrated community centre will be challenging and have a unique design that will be new to the community, the City of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. Given the unique nature of this project, the below process is being followed:
1) Gather Input from the Community
In May 2008, the City of Saskatoon and Saskatoon Public School Division held two public consultation meetings to solicit input into the programming needs, activity space and types of activities for an integrated facility.
2) Prepare Program Specification & Participant Profile
Between December 2008 and January 2009, City staff, in consultation with Community Association representatives, prepared a Program Specification and Participant Profile document that identified specific program requirements (e.g., age groups, type of activities, space requirements, support amenities, type of space) that should be accommodated in an integrated facility.
3) Preliminary Facility Pre-conceptual Design
Between March and June of 2009, City and Public School staff worked with an architect and started work on a preliminary pre-conceptual design that incorporated a “creative cluster” of facility spaces that could accommodate both community and school programming without adding additional facility space found within a typical school footprint.
4) New Partnership with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools
In the spring of 2009, the Provincial Government, who funds new schools, invited the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools to adopt the integrated community facility model for its new facility in Willowgrove. The Catholic School Board voted to adopt this concept in June 2009. The three partners have met and agreed that the information gathered through the above public consultation process could be used as the project moves forward. Based on the work that has occurred to date, the City will endeavor to achieve the following two objectives:
- Design an integrated facility with program space that allows for the broadest scope of activities within the smallest footprint possible; and,
- Design an integrated facility that focuses on accommodating community and school programming within a school footprint by incorporating creativity in the design that is flexible and adaptable.
5) Community Association Update
The Willowgrove University Heights Community Association invited representatives from the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Board, Saskatoon Public School Board, City of Saskatoon and Provincial Ministry of Education to attend a meeting on November 25, 2009 to answer questions and provide an update on the Willowgrove Schools project. Over one hundred members of the community attended the meeting and asked questions of the invited representatives. The School Boards are waiting for funding from the Provincial Government in order to begin design and construction of the new schools in their divisions. The School Boards expect to hear in March 2010 whether there will be Provincial funding in 2010 for the construction of the schools in Willowgrove.