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Council approves funding request for Galbraith gymnasium

When the modernization of a northside elementary school is complete, city residents will have expanded community use opportunities thanks to a funding commitment from the City of Lethbridge.

Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a capital investment of $1.2 million for Lethbridge School Division to upsize the gymnasium at the soon-to-be modernized Galbraith School. 

Due to the timing required for the Division to leverage Province of Alberta funding, City Council approved funding of $1.2 million in 2026 from the $10 million that was held for future projects from prior capital budget deliberations. Council’s approval was based on a recommendation from Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee from its June 13 meeting.

“This coming modernization creates another opportunity to add additional community recreational space,” says Mayor Blaine Hyggen, who is also Chair of the Economic and Finance SPC. “This approval will leverage City capital funding with a Provincially-funded project to meet community needs at a reduction for taxpayers, as well as demonstrate continued commitment to school partnerships.”

The City’s commitment is in alignment with the 2021 Recreation and Culture Master Plan, which identified the community need for more indoor recreational spaces, as well as the 2022 Indoor Court/Multipurpose Space Audit and Analysis Report, where one of the key recommendations was to continue support of school gymnasium upsizings.

“The cost savings of a shared capital project, increased access for the community and better learning experiences for city residents are favourable outcomes of partnering with the school divisions on gymnasium upsizings,” says Travis Grindle, Recreation Services Manager. “This will increase access to a modernized gymnasium and definitely help offset growing demand for gym space in the city.”

The City’s Recreation and Culture department will work with the Lethbridge School Division to develop the terms for the funding including increased community access as part of the long-standing Joint Use Agreement between the parties.

In the February 2024 Provincial Budget, Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure advanced the Galbraith Modernization project. The project is now in the design phase where schematic design and preconstruction drawings are created for the project.

As a result, the Division needed a firm commitment from the City of Lethbridge – before the end of October 2024 – on whether it is willing to contribute to the upsizing of the gymnasium, so that the upsized gymnasium may be incorporated into the schematic designs.

As part of the approval, Council also authorized the Mayor to provide a letter of commitment for the funding.

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