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Old schoolhouse breathes new life

Greg Buekert photo of the work taking place on the Cameron School

Devin Brady

Sept 20, 2023

The Cameron School in Coleman is getting a makeover after being purchased 14 years ago.

The Cameron School in Coleman is getting a makeover this month. Greg Buekert purchased the old schoolhouse 14 years ago and after many attempts at revitalizing the building he is now getting the opportunity to begin restorations. The school currently sits in Coleman having been untouched for many years besides the graffiti on the exterior and boards removed by trespassers to explore the interior. Buekert explained he has owned the property for a long time and “It is time to do something with it. I have had a number of engineering studies done and the supports are good and solid”. This week saw the beginning of the renovations at the old school.

Buekert has contracted DC Roofing from the Crowsnest Pass to redo the roof. The roof has been sitting for many years and was leaking badly but with a new roof Buekert is hopeful to “make it attractive and make it an asset that will make the community proud”. 

The plan is to have the zoning changed to allow multi family homes and convert the interior to have eight upscale apartments, four in the front and four in the rear. The apartments are proposed to have two bedrooms and two bathrooms at 1100 ft2 and each apartment will have a balcony with mountain views. 

Buekert hopes these apartments will “appeal to people outside of the normal market” after noticing the rise in need for rental accommodations in the Crowsnest Pass. The project has been on his mind for many years just as it has been for many others in the area but being a Medicine Hat local it has been difficult to do on-site visits, but plans to have a local developer oversee the project, someone “that can be on site on a regular basis”. 

Development is planned to begin in spring of 2024 after getting zoning changes and the permits required for construction. Future grounds development is being organized. Buekert has ambitions to build townhouses on the grounds that would have two bedrooms and a garage but as he stated, “this project is a big commitment in money and a big commitment in time”. 

For now his eye is on taking the old schoolhouse and turning it into an attractive living place while still keeping the historical nature of exposed brick and the ‘Cameron School’ sign. However, the steam boiler and water well inside the school may not remain as usable features, he added jokingly. The community is excited to finally see the old school breathe in new fresh life. 

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