School officials and parents were ecstatic after the province announced last Friday plans for a new 300-student capacity kindergarten to Grade 12 school for Bashaw.
“My reaction — whoo hoo,” Diane Hutchinson, the communications coordinator for the Battle River School Division, said Tuesday.
Although a construction timeline hasn’t been set, the school is slated to have a capacity of 300 students and replace the current 1922 structure.
“There’s mechanical, plumbing and electrical concerns that would probably be more fiscally expensive to repair rather than start from scratch,” said Lori Pearson, parent chairperson of the Bashaw School Council.
Hutchinson said the division appreciates the “optimism” that the current 200-student population will grow, but said she doesn’t know whether the school will be built initially for 300 students, or whether that will come down the road through portable classrooms.
“We don’t know those things yet,” she said, adding those details will become available in the coming weeks.
Pearson said she’s optimistic that there will be growth in Bashaw and the surrounding area to help fill the new school.
“I believe Bashaw has the ability and capability to grow. I am aware that the north shore of Buffalo Lake is currently undergoing development and lots are being subdivided.”
Kendall Severson, the chairman of the Battle River school board, welcomed the announcement in Bashaw.
Severson said “Bashaw School has been No. 1 on the BRSD capital plan for several years,” and that the new structure would not only benefit students and staff, but also the entire community of Bashaw.
Doug Griffiths, the MLA for Battle River-Wainwright, said in a news release that the province would ensure Bashaw’s new school will meet the needs of the community for generations.
“In just a few short years, Bashaw and the surrounding area will be home to a new, state-of-the-art school that the community very much deserves.”
Last spring, the province announced its commitment to modernize and build 120 schools.
“This new school project reinforces our commitment to invest in Alberta’s families and communities,” said Premier Alison Redford in a news release.
“We are making certain that students and communities, today and long into the future, have the world-class school facilities they need to learn and be successful.”
The replacement schools are pegged to have advanced systems and features like large windows, providing natural light and ventilation systems that improve air quality and circulation to help create a healthy learning and working environment.