About 40 people met last week to get an update on Connections Cole Harbour's plans for acquiring the Gordon Bell Building on Taranaki Drive.
The non-profit organization wants to open a community life centre in the former school and provide programs and activities for residents of Cole Harbour.
They are asking HRM to provide them with the facility on either a lease for $1 a year or a purchase of $1.
"The point of the meeting was to bring the community up to date on the progress of Connections Cole Harbour in obtaining the Gordon Bell Building from HRM to create a community life centre and to stop it from going to private developers," said Peter Crouse, board chair of Connections Cole Harbour.
The Gordon Bell Building, built around 1980 used to be a high school and then housed administrative offices for the school board.
The building is approximately 70,000 square feet, over two and three storeys, on an overall lot of 7.60 acres that encompasses a Class C natural turf field.
The building was declared surplus to educational requirements by the school board in and was turned back to HRM in 2011.
Crouse said there was strong support for a community life centre at the meeting.
"Presentations were given by the Boys and Girls Club, the Lions Club, Campbell's Senior Center and Job Search Services who were all very adamant that the building should not be sold to developers, that HRM needs to not only allow Connections Cole Harbour to take possession of the building, but that HRM needs to stop dragging their feet in the process."
Tiffany Chase, communications specialist with HRM, says the Gordon Bell Building is currently under review by HRM as a potential site for the development of an artificial playing field.
Based on a needs assessment study held last fall HRM council released a report in January that said there is a requirement to retain the field, located next to the Gordon Bell Building until such time as an artificial turf or alternate fields are approved and constructed in the community.
The report also said the Bell Building gymnasium is 5,400 square feet, has tile on concrete floor and is not of a size or condition to meet requirements for municipal recreation.
Crouse says his goal is not to provide strictly recreational needs to the community but to provide services for youth, under resourced and young families and seniors in Cole Harbour.
"Recreational pursuits are only a small portion for our efforts in obtaining the building."
Crouse is continuing to recruit board members to gain more community support.
"There has been a preliminary environmental assessment done on the building and we have been dealing directly with Councillor Nicoll and keeping Mr. Savage (Mayor Mike Savage) abreast of the details. No one from staff is wanting to hear from our group."
For more info go to www.gordonbellbuilding.ca