Red Deer’s St. Patrick Community School is one of Alberta’s most overcrowded schools
That is about to change.
Education Minister David Eggen announced $9 million on Saturday to modernize the school next to the G.H. Dawe Community Centre.
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools knew last week their much-needed upgrades had made the province’s funding list, but the exact amount was not known until this weekend’s visit by the minister.
“We are literally teaching in hallways, the staff room, in office areas, in St. Pat’s Place, which is a gathering area, and back in our shop,” said Principal Terri Lynn Mundorf.
“We’re so excited. We can’t wait to see how they’re going to reconfigure the school to create those collaborative learning spaces for our students,” she said.
“They deserve it. We have children from all over the world who come to this school. They’re just as excited.”
Mundorf would like to see more collaborate break-out spaces, rooms that can be reconfigured depending on whether they are needed for small or larger groups of students.
Work is expected to begin this summer and take two years to complete.
The St. Patrick’s upgrades are part of a $500-million investment in schools announced by the province last Tuesday. Eight new schools, nine replacement schools and seven modernization projects have been funded. Two other schools are planned but not yet funded.
Eggen said he visited the school, which is at 130 per cent capacity, last year and it was clear that it needed improving.
“It is about the highest-capacity schools percentage-wise in the whole province,” he said.
Teachers, staff and the general community have shown their commitment to the school.
“They needed a school that matches that, that matches that effort.”
The $9 million provides enough to undertake significant upgrades to the K-9 school and is less than half the cost of building new.
“When you have a school that has good bones, like St. Patrick’s has, and (with) its proximity to the library and other recreation facilities, that’s a good starting place.”
Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner said she “couldn’t be more happy about today’s announcement.
“Our kids deserve a good quality education and this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time.”