St. Joseph’s High School, near the intersection of 30th Avenue and 67th Street, is now ready for students, almost six months before they start arriving. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate Staff)

New Red Deer Catholic high school done ahead of schedule, on budget

On budget and ahead of schedule, St. Joseph High School in east Red Deer is almost ready, six months before the students arrive.

Originally set to be built by June 2017, the school located near the intersection of 67th Street and 30th Avenue will be more than ready for students by September.

“Basically we’re done and the contractors are off-site,” said Ken Jaeger, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools supervisor of Support Services. “We have some school staff occupying it and getting ready for students in September.”

When the doors open in September, the school will have an initial capacity of 900 students from Grades 10 to 12. They anticipate about 500 to 600 students in the first year of the school.

Students heading into Grade 12 in September have the option to finish their high school careers at Notre Dame High School. Notre Dame has about 1,700 students attending it now. Originally designed for 1,300, the school uses 10 modulars that will be relocated to other schools in the new school year.

“We’re about a good three, three-and-a-half months ahead of where we’d thought we’d be,” said Jaeger. “We’re very happy the Integrated Project Delivery process was very successful.”

The process is a collaborative alliance of people, systems, business structures and practices that harness the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results.

St. Joseph is the first high school at the site that will eventually be occupied by three secondary schools. A public and a francophone high school will be built there in the future.

The high school also has partnerships with the Red Deer Royals, whose field house will be at the school, and with the City of Red Deer where extra change rooms and a coach’s room have been added for the adjacent soccer pitches.

Though not ahead of schedule like St. Joseph’s, St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds is on track to open in the fall. Construction is expected to wrap up by the end of May.

St. Gregory will have the capacity of up to 500 students when it is completed. It will be a pre-kindergarten to Grade 9 school.

The two schools were bundled together and cost $53 million to build.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com