"We're in discussions with the Winspear Centre (for) Music to take the programming and operations of the conservatory," Lisa Rochman, dean of the School of Continuing Education, told Taproot. "Over the next two years, we're going to have more information about what this looks like."
Edmonton Public Schools recently celebrated its purchase of the Alberta College building, which it finalized in May for about $22 million following a lease agreement that began in 2019. Centre High students have been attending classes there since 2020, with the conservatory continuing to operate on the fourth and fifth levels.
The school board has given the conservatory until summer of 2025 to find a new home. Though MacEwan has made efforts to consolidate its offerings at its main campus in the past, Rochman said Allard Hall is a less-than-ideal home for the conservatory.
"It's a beautiful space, but it's not suited towards the way the conservatory runs with the individualized instructional model," she said. "I'm not a person who will ever say anything is completely off the table, but that is not the plan. We are in great talks with the Winspear and that is what we are looking forward to moving forward with."
Rochman said it's too soon to get into the specifics of how running the conservatory at the Winspear Centre would work, if it happens. The Winspear Expansion Project is still underway, and while discussions are ongoing, there aren't "a lot of firm details" yet, a representative of the Winspear Centre told Taproot in an email. The expansion is optimistically slated for late 2025, "contingent on a number of details," the spokesperson added.
Elizabeth Raycroft, a conservatory instructor, is disappointed by the department's impending eviction.
"I think it's a horrific shame that we lose a building that was purpose-built for music education," she said in an interview. "There has been, amongst teachers, a sadness, a distress that we weren't listened to and that we're not being given any really viable options."