As students that previously attended Millet School are now bused elsewhere, the vacant building is a question mark for the community. The Town of Millet hopes to address that issue at a community meeting Tuesday, May 29.
“Now is the time for residents to tell us why and how the Town should put this building to practical use,” stated Mayor Tony Wadsworth in an email May 11.
“Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools (WRPS) closed the Millet Elementary School in June 2017.
“In March 2018, we were advised by WRPS that the building is now surplus to the school board’s requirements and, as a result, the Town of Millet has been offered the opportunity to take this building over.
“The original portion of this building was constructed in 1930 and there is much emotional attachment, going through three or four generations of Millet area resident families – to this building. This has resulted in some residents ‘beseeching’ the Town to find a way to keep this building in practical use within the town rather than see it becoming unused, boarded up, left to decay and, ultimately, becoming an eyesore worthy only of demolition.”
The mayor said the building has many attractive features. “The building comprises some 18,000 sq. ft. of indoor space, including office space, gymnasium and 16 classrooms of various dimensions,” he stated. “Portions of the building have two storeys and others have only one storey. There are three external entrances. Currently – and there are some concrete reasons to support doing this – the Town has identified that certain of its own operations (plus an allowance for expected growth) could be transferred from their current locations in Millet into the school building in order to optimize its own occupancy of the School facility, but this would still mean that some 3,000 to 8,000 square footage would be left ‘unspoken for.’”
Wadsworth said the town would like to hear from the community about the school’s future. “Stated simply, the Town is holding this open forum on May 29 to hear any and all ideas – from residents, local community organizations, non-local organizations, service providers, business entrepreneurs and whoever – as to how this ‘unspoken for’ square footage might be put to good and practical use with services and activities that the residents of the Millet community could use, need, like and/or be willing to support and participate in for the immediate (one to five years) future,” stated Wadsworth.
“If the Town does not hear sufficient interest, passion or desire coming forward at the open forum from our residents to help us find ways to utilize the additional space that the School building provides, the Town does not currently feel that it can take on the responsibility and costs of assuming any responsibility for this building and, thus, the building may have no further practical use within our community. It would then be offered for sale by WRPS or left unused and vacant for who knows how long until the wrecking ball would inevitably strike.
“This is the time for Town Council to see maximum participation from our residents and to receive the input of each and every resident as to what they wish to see us do with this building, If anybody is unable to attend, we would welcome them writing or e-mailing us with their ideas and thoughts.”
The public meeting will be held Tuesday, May 29 in the Millet Community Hall beginning at 7 p.m.