Gravelbourg residents are concerned about the future of a former convent that served as the community’s elementary school for nearly a century.

As a new school opens in the town, some residents are wondering if the money should have gone into saving the old building.

The $10 million project saw a half dozen elementary classrooms added onto the community’s high school, bringing all students from kindergarten to Grade 12 under one roof.

The new school replaces the former convent, where generations of Gravelbourg families attended classes.

"I went to school here and all of my children went to school here and three of my grandchildren have gone to school here," said former student Sheryl Cooper.

Local historian Louis Stringer says the former convent was known for its architectural splendor.

"It's as if you were in a Grecian temple with the Corinthian columns and the woodwork just blows your mind," he said.

But the aging building also shows signs of years of neglect. It would have taken an estimated $20 million to bring it up to today's standards. The new school cost half that amount.

"That was really the ultimate deciding factor,” said Prairie South School Division board chair Shawn Davidson. “The other factor is that the existing convent building is much too large for our needs here."

The former convent can't be torn down because of a national historic designation. Ownership has been transferred to the town, which is now considering options to repurpose the building.