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Clearview Public Schools Chair presents to Stettler County council

Neitz presents results of recent value-scoping report
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The County of Stettler council hosted Clearview Public Schools board chair Guy Neitz during its Aug. 9 council meeting.

Neitz was attending the council meeting to update council on the recent value-scoping process undertaken at the Stettler school campus.

“We’ve had a very busy spring,” said Neitz.

According to Neitz, the value scoping project, conducted with Alberta Education, Alberta Infrastructure, the Town of Stettler, and the school board, was done as part of Clearview’s three and ten-year plans for the Stettler campus to modernize the facilities.

The Stettler School campus hosts the Stettler Elementary School, the Stettler Middle School, and Wm. E. Hay Secondary School, all divided between two buildings.

Stettler Elementary School was first built in 1954, with modernization taking place in 1993; Wm. E. Hay Secondary was built in 1961 with a modernization occurring in 2008.

According to Neitz, the value scoping process determined that both schools are significantly larger than they need to be for the current school population; currently Stettler Elementary has a student body of around 600 students while Wm. E. Hay has nearly 700 while both schools have capacity significantly than that.

SEE ALSO: Clearview Public Schools reviews status report on Stettler Elementary and Middle Schools

The value scoping is the first step in ensuring that the Stettler School complex remains viable into the future, and a proposal, supported by the Government of Alberta, did come out of the report.

A project, with an estimated $127 million price tag picked up primarily by the province, would see a new Stettler Elementary School built on existing school property, followed by a modernization of Wm. E. Hay secondary.

Neitz says that by modernizing Wm. E. Hay instead of a completely new build the school will be able to retain all the current technology classroom space and the Performing Arts Centre (PAC); in a new build the high school would lose around 60 per cent of classroom space dedicated to technology and, likely, the PAC.

The plan would be to build the new elementary school, then once complete shift the elementary students to the new building and have high school students as necessary move to the old elementary school as Wm. E. Hay is modernized.

Upon completion, the old elementary school would be demolished which would allow for a new off-road bus loading zone.

The board is currently discussing opportunities to make the new space a more community oriented facility; options being looked at include incorporating a day care into the design and designing the new gymnasium so that it can be accessed, and used, by members of the public from the outside.

Neitz notes that the purpose is t design something that will “benefit the whole community and region.”He furthered that now was the time come up with things to add to the design as 90 per cent of the cost would be paid by Alberta Education.

“Our additions are going to be minimal if we had to do it, compared to doing it on our own,” said Neitz.

While any potential work on the school complex is at least two years from having shovels in the ground, there is a clock on the project; Clearview has to have the wants and the needs of the project put together for submission to the province by this fall so that blueprints can be commissioned to, potentially, have final government sign off in the spring.

Neitz concluded his presentation to Stettler County council by inviting all members to a meeting in September to further discuss potential options for the new school, and what potential funding partnerships could look like for anything not covered by the province. He noted that the same invitation will be going to the Town of Stettler as well.

According to Neitz, the meeting will be an opportunity to figure out the “vision for the community” and “a vision for something we haven’t seen in the past;” something that will serve the community for another 50 years.

“It will be something that will outlive us all,” said Neitz.

Council agreed to the meeting and accepted the presentation as information.

Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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