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CBE Posts Sign In Riverbend Playground - September 2017

posted Sep 11, 2017, 3:04 PM by Douglas Ratke

Recently, the Calgary Board of Education posted a sign in Riverbend Playground that lead some residents to wonder if they planned to put a new school in the location.

Although it is unclear why the sign was posted at this time, there are no immediate plans now, or in the forseeable future to add a new school at this location.Having said that

Having said that, even if the CBE wanted to build a school at this location, they would require funding from the Provincial Government.  Given the current economic client, and cuts to other schools that had been previously announced, it is unlikely that any school would be added to this location.

First, let us look at what the City of Calgary website on schools has to say itself :

Future School Sites

Calgary Parks maintains approximately 100 sites throughout the city that are reserved for future development of schools. Until such time that a school is built on its designated portion of these sites, they are usually kept as green space for the community to enjoy.

In consultation with the three school boards, Calgary Parks has placed signs at each of these future school sites to let residents know that it could be the location of a future school.

To find out if and where a future school is planned in your community, please refer to the chart below. 

For information on the future school, please contact the appropriate school board directly.

CBE = Calgary Board of Education, CCSD = Calgary Catholic School District

Riverbend​221 Riverbend Dr. S.E.​CBE, 403-777-8780,

We did contact the number noted and received additional feedback below which we have posted below.

Second, Riverbend Elementary School is located just down the street, and having two schools that close to each other would not make any sense, especially since Riverbend School is not even at capacity.

Third, Riverbend Community Association reached out to the CBE for an initial comment, and received the following on August 31, 2017:

The City of Calgary in consultation with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) have placed signage on green spaces that are zoned for school construction.  The signs have been placed to provide clarity about what could be built on the green space in the future.  The placement of these signs is not an indication that a new school is being built.  Approval and funding for new schools come from the Provincial government.  Every year school boards in Alberta present a list of funding requests to the province for approval.  For information about how the CBE identifies new school sites and develops a prioritized list of construction requests, we invite you to take a look at our annual Three Year School Capital Plan.  This plan is available on our website at


Please contact 311 at the City of Calgary if you would like to know whether the site you are inquiring about is owned by the CBE or CCSD.


Kind regards.

Sydney Smith, Director Area 6

Calgary Board of Education |

Fourth, Riverbend Community Association then followed up with a request for additional clarification based on the previous e-mail, and received the following feedback on September 7, 2017:

Thank you for your second email regarding schools sites in Riverbend. 


The Calgary Board of Education (CBE), Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) and City of Calgary work together with developers to identify school sites in future new communities. This work occurs during the Outline Plan and Area Structure Plan (ASP) phases of the development of a community and is done well before any homes are built or community associations are established. The Riverbend ASP was approved by the City of Calgary on October 23, 1979. The CBE was allocated 3 school sites when this ASP was approved: 2 elementary and 1 elementary/junior. Riverbend School is located on the elementary/junior high site. In 1997, the CBE transferred one of the elementary school sites to the CCSD and Holy Angels School was built on that site. The third of the three sites, which is the site you have inquired about, is the second CBE elementary school site.


School sites remain designated as such until the CBE makes a decision as to their future status. As populations and communities change in growth, needs and demographics, these sites may or may not be required for the construction of future schools. The CBE conducts an annual review of its needs when revising its Three Year School Capital Plan. One use of a school site could be, as you pointed out in your email, for students living within the community if student demographics and community growth demonstrate a demand. Within the past few years, there have also been schools built to support broader regional or systemic needs. For example, the CBE recently opened a new school in the community of Varsity built specifically to support students with complex learning needs. Students attending this school come from across the city. Another example would be the francophone school board, FrancoSud, building a new school in the community of Scenic Acres to accommodate French speaking students who live in northwest Calgary. These examples illustrate that from time to time school boards may build a school to support a population that goes beyond local students.


At this time, CBE has not identified either a local or a systemic need for the site in Riverbend. If a need is identified in the future, it would be identified in our Three Year School Capital Plan. Generally speaking, the timeframe from identification, inclusion in a Three Year school Capital Plan, Provincial approval for funding, design and construction of a new facility would be a minimum of 3 to 5 years.


I would encourage you to take a look at CBE’s Three Year Capital Plan, 2018-2021. Specifically, pages 15 to 32 provide information on how school sites are identified and construction priorities established.


The City of Calgary Parks Department is allowed to use the school (CBE) portion of the site for temporary recreational uses, where it sees a need, until such time as the CBE decides to build a school. Any other group wishing to use a portion of the site for a temporary use, would need approval from the City of Calgary and the CBE before proceeding.


Dany Breton, Superintendent

Facilities and Environmental Services

Calgary Board of Education

Fifth, when we checked with Calgary Parks, they knew nothing about any changes, and they would have had to be involved in the conversation.

Sixth, we also checked with Riverbend School, and they too knew nothing and would have had to be involved in any conversation regarding changes.


So, we feel fairly comfortable in leting residents know that we do not think there is any cause for concern.

Our guess is with the coming Civic Elections, the CBE is simply doing its best to do some catch up work, and one of the items is the posting of signs that should have been posted previously.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Riverbend Community Association.