Old Fawcett school grounds turned back to community

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Pembina Hills Public Schools has agreed to transfer the former W.R. Frose School grounds to the PACO Agricultural Society in Fawcett.

PACO (Progressive And Co-ordinating Organization) sent a letter to the school division March 2 requesting the transfer of the property where W.R. Frose School once stood — trustees agreed to the transfer at their March 8 meeting in Barrhead.

Fawcett school was shuttered at the end of the 2013-2014 school year and then demolished in November 2016 due to numerous health and safety issues with the building.

The $189,000 demolition project was funded by the provincial government.

When Pembina Hills had approached PACO about taking over the empty school, society president Dave Doke responded they didn’t have the funds to demolish the building, but were interested in the land.

In his March 2 letter, Doke indicated they had considered a number of ideas for use of the property, but the “number one theme that has dominated our plans is a sports/recreation field.”

Doke said they have begun to informally plan for a park with two to three baseball diamonds, a soccer field and beach volleyball court.

He noted that the field is still used by Pembina North Community School for their annual soccer tournament in late September.

Doke said they are also planning to expand the existing playground equipment and basketball court, as well as to add some RV camping stalls and a trailer dump once the baseball diamonds are functional.

“This will make our complete facility very attractive to many users for weddings, reunions, tournaments and a focal point for our Canada Day activities,” he said.

Doke noted that acquiring this property will result in a consolidation of all their facilities, as PACO operates the adjacent Fawcett arena.

It should be noted that the transfer of the property is subject to ministerial approval. No timeline was given as to when that would occur.

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