Botha School celebrates upgraded facilities and site

Young students cut the ribbon – Botha School students Damien Benjamin and Sadie Diegel of the School Spirit Squad cut the ribbon for the upgraded school with school council president Christine Ross with Drumheller-Stettler MLA and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Jack Hayden during a ceremony Dec. 1.

Young students cut the ribbon – Botha School students Damien Benjamin and Sadie Diegel of the School Spirit Squad cut the ribbon for the upgraded school with school council president Christine Ross with Drumheller-Stettler MLA and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Jack Hayden during a ceremony Dec. 1.

Botha School celebrated the end of a project to upgrade the aged building at a grand re-opening ceremony Dec. 1.

Clearview School Division received $1 million from the provincial government in November 2008 for the project to upgrade the mechanics of the building and prevent further flooding with more-efficient drainage.

“This is a time to give thanks – to our MLA and the provincial government,” said Ken Checkel, who chairs the board.

“Without this funding, we couldn’t get this project done.”

While the project took longer to complete, the wait was worthwhile, he said.

Presenting a plaque from the provincial government, MLA Hayden expressed his commitment to rural communities.

“This school is a source of pride for the community and I’m happy to help with a solution,” said Minister Hayden.

He noted that in 1989, he attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the modernization project when he served as a school trustee as a councilor with the County of Stettler.

Other speakers echoed their commitment to rural schools.

“The school motto ‘the future begins with us’ is certainly fitting for this occasion,” said Mitch Hammond, who became principal in August.

Parents are delighted with the school and project.

“We are thrilled for the funding that will help keep the school operating,” said Christine Ross of the school council.

“I think it will be here for a long time.”

Village of Botha Councillor Karen Ashton and County of Stettler Reeve Wayne Nixon also expressed the value of such projects to sustain the long-term of rural schools and communities.

Funding for the emergent capital project $700,000 to improve the ground to prevent flooding in the building and $300,000 for mechanical and electrical.

Serious flooding in spring 2008 left the gymnasium unusable and cost about $20,000 to clean up.