New Community Centre Approvals a Key Step – Fall 2022 Completion Date Projected

JOHN DANCE

Ottawa City Council’s approval in December to proceed to negotiate a deal with the Conseil des Écoles Catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE, the school board) for a new community centre in the Deschâtelets Building and an adjacent new “sports facility” is a key step on the road to Old Ottawa East’s replacement of the inadequate Old Town Hall.

Council had previously approved the demolition of the chapel wing of Deschâtelets on the condition that a school and a community centre would be accommodated in the main part of the building. The new approval satisfies this condition, assuming the French-language elementary school and the community centre are built.

Image Supplied

Image Supplied

“We wanted to ensure that any changes to the historic building would be contingent on this direct partnership being confirmed and we are happy to see the project progressing,” commented Capital Ward Councillor Shawn Menard.

Background material provided to City Council gives new details on how the project will tentatively proceed. The school board, rather than the City, will build and own both the community centre and the sports facility, which will have a combined area of about 21,000 square feet. However, the construction work for both will be funded through a multi-year lease with the City.

The community centre will occupy the northern half of the ground floor of the fully renovated Deschâtelets Building,and will include office spaces, meeting rooms, a lobby, washrooms and multipurpose rooms. The new school will occupy the rest of the ground floor and the second and third floors. The use of the fourth and fifth floors of the building has not yet been finalized, though Councillor Menard is advocating that it be used for seniors affordable housing.

The sports facility will be a new building linked with Deschâtelets and, tentatively, will have a gymnasium, change rooms, washrooms, storage and other ancillary spaces.

Image Supplied

Image Supplied

“There has been exemplary partnership in this project, with complementary needs and opportunities in respect of a recreational space,” Menard commented in the report to City Council. In terms of the “complementary needs,” the school will use the sports facility primarily during the day, Monday to Friday, while the community use would primarily be in the evenings and on weekends.

“Council has approved $11.5M in 2020 and 2021 for the design and construction of a community centre in Old Ottawa East, and an additional $1.7M toward the [adjacent] Forecourt and Grande Allée parks in the 2021 budget,” Menard emailed after Council’s decision. “We feel very proud of this accomplishment.”

The ambitious, multi-step timeline for the project forecasts completion of the final design by the end of May, with construction beginning by the end of August and completion of construction in the fall of 2022.

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