Frequently Asked Questions

Solid Foundations Sustainable Futures Campaign
Frequently Asked Questions

November, 2013

Why are you building?

Our current facilities are not adequate for our students. While maintained very well, the middle section of our school is coming to the end of its serviceable life and needs to be replaced. Also, with three sections built at different times, the layout of our school is clumsy, cramped and problematic. Our redevelopment considers how the whole school operates and addresses all of our challenges.

Why build at 86 West Gate?

For over a year and a half, a determined search for a suitable facility seriously considered three sites that fit our search criteria. However, the cost to either build or renovate any of them ranged from $18 million to $20 million. It was decided that our school community would have difficulty raising the necessary funds without incurring significant debt. Rebuilding our school at 86 West Gate is our best alternative and has a number of advantages. For over 45 year, 86 West Gate has been our home. It is centrally located and is an important part of the charming neighbourhood that is Armstrong Point.

What benefits will the new and renovated spaces provide?

Our renovation will provide a smoother and more comfortable flow of student and staff movement within the building. A new atrium will enclose our courtyard and bring the “outside in” with a two-story glazed curtain-wall to create a bright, open and welcoming environment for our students and guests. Reception will be situated more conveniently. An elevator will provide accessibility to every area of the school for every student and guest. Our band and choir programs will now have dedicated rooms. A new science lab will serve our junior school students. Mechanical upgrades will improve comfort and save energy costs. A new fitness facility will enhance our athletic programs and the health of our students. Better storage throughout the school will better facilitate the work of our teachers and maintenance of our school.

How much larger will the new space be?

We are adding approximately 6000 square feet of new construction. The only construction that will be noticeable from the street will be the new atrium that will enclose our current courtyard.

Some members of the Armstrong Point opposed the redevelopment. Where are things with the community?

Some residents in the Point moved here because they wanted to be near to this school for their family. Some have moved in knowing our school is a part of this community and have opposed it. Residents were fairly uniform in their opposition to the 2008 development plans. However, this widespread neighbourhood opposition is not evident with our current redevelopment plans. This project’s design incorporated every concern residents had with the 2008 plans. The footprint for educational space remains the same, and there is no provision for increased enrollment. Underground storage space will permit the elimination of one of the current exterior storage sheds.

Are there any legal hurdles left to overcome?

No. All municipal and provincial challenges by Armstrong Point Association have been dismissed.  There is no legal reason keeping our building project from moving ahead.

What is the scope of the project and what has been raised so far?

We expect the total cost of the project to be 10.5 million, which include the cost of construction, the cost of relocating the school for one year and permit costs.

Who are you asking to support the project?

We are engaging all of our current and past supporters. From current and past staff, board members, and parents to alumni and church partners we are leaving no one without the opportunity to support this project. We are also inviting others with whom we haven’t partnered with previously to help us promote the unique programs and perspective that Westgate offers our students. These include local and national foundations, corporations and individual members of our community that have an affinity for Westgate’s mission.

Why would I be interested in giving to the project if I do not have anyone in my family who will benefit from the new development?

Consider the notion that it is wise to plant a tree even though the planter may not be able to enjoy its shade. Just as students have benefited from the foresight and contribution of previous generations of Westgate stakeholders when the gym and later the 1988 classroom wing was built, after 25 years since the school’s last capital campaign, it is time to prepare for the next generations of Westgate students who will project the Mennonite voice and perspective in the wider community.

Where are you at with your project and what is your timeline?

The general appeal to our wider Westgate community will be launched in early October and it is anticipated that its success will lead to reconstruction commencing late spring 2016.

What will happen with your current students?

We will need to relocate the entire school for one school year. The search for this temporary site is underway and includes help from a professional real estate firm.

Are naming rights available to donors?

Yes. While we respect our community’s preference to be “quiet in the land”, we are grateful for every gift that enables our redevelopment and want to welcome larger gifts to enable this project – gifts that would otherwise not be given. We will have discussions with givers of $1,000,000 or more to determine what recognition they might prefer.

How will you acknowledge other donors to the project?

With a focus on sharing donor motivation rather than their monetary gift, we will offer givers of $100,000 or more, an opportunity to have their story of what inspired their gift told with through mini-installations located throughout the school. In this way, examples of philanthropy will be promoted in a thoughtful way with our students.

All donors who give $1000 or more will be acknowledged with their name (or anonymously) on a permanent installation in an appropriate public space in our new facility.