The Cedar Heritage Centre is a project of the Cedar School and Community Enhancement Society (CSCES). CSCES was incorporated as a non-profit society in the province of British Columbia in September 1997, for the purpose of establishing a community school. The hope was that a community school would create a stronger sense of community by creating a public place where people could get together to participate in new programs and services. A community school would also improve communication between the schools and the community, as well as lend support to the children in the area by involving more adults in the activities at the school.
During the fall of 1996, the high school in the Cedar area was given community school designation. After diligently working towards a functioning community school for approximately 2 years, the application for funding for community school was submitted in September of 1997. During that same month responsibility for community schools was transferred from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry for Children and Families. The funding for community schools was subsequently frozen. In 2000 the new high school in Cedar was built with the community school designation intact, but with no funding for a coordinator to run community programs.
Throughout the time while working towards the goal of a community school, CSCES also initiated many other projects for the community such as Coats for Kids, Youth Program, Boat Building Course, Disaster Preparation, Summer Activity Program for Children, and Community Police Station. CSCES became registered as a charitable organization in January 2000.
A new direction for CSCES was then launched with the S.O.S. (Save Our School) project. The school that was now the focus of attention for CSCES was the former North Cedar Elementary School. This school was located on the same property as the new Cedar High School, and was a central part of life for the residents of the Cedar area for many years. The building was in use until June 2000 as an elementary school but was no longer needed because the new high school had caused shifts in usage for 3 of the local schools. The building was slated for demolition to create parking spaces for the new Cedar Community High School. The original hope was that the gym with its adjoining kitchen and separate furnace could be separated from the rest of the school to run programs, but this proved unfeasible. The focus then became the original part of the structure, the 3 room schoolhouse, built in 1921.
The effort to save the old school meant lobbying the school board and the Regional District of Nanaimo so that this building could be restored to become a community centre for the residents of RDN District "A". Through the efforts of many local businesses, tradesmen, and volunteers from the community, this building has and is being transformed into an asset for the community and a heritage legacy.
The property that the Centre is sitting on is owned by School Board District 68 and leased to the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) for 20 years, the building ownership was transferred from the school board to the RDN.