St. Joseph High School has officially become part of the Red Deer Catholic Regional School District family with the first day of classes on Friday.
The number of students currently registered is roughly 575 from Grades 10 to 12.
Tyler Ness, a Grade 12 student, said he likes the facility better than his last school — Hunting Hills High School.
“It’s new and it’s exciting,” said Ness.
Catriona McMahon attended the Grade 10 orientation on Thursday and her first day of classes on Friday. She likes the open concept of the school with huge classrooms. She was home schooled for the past six years and finds attending a public school to be a big change in her life.
“It feels less like a school. It feels a little more open,” she explained.
That is exactly what the vision was for the school district, said principal Graeme Daniel.
He explained the school fits the 21st-century model with open classrooms, collaborated spaces and an open learning commons area.
The high school gives students a glimpse into their post secondary future. The learning commons is designed based on the concepts one may find at University of Alberta or Red Deer College.
With books on display in the learning commons area, students are able to grab their reading material on the go.
The building offers a field house, a gymnasium, a performing arts centre, a cosmetology and a welding lab and an open concept hang-out room that promotes inclusivity.
The division has built the field house in partnership with Kinsmen and Red Deer Royals with an additional cost of about $5 million.
The school facility came with a $40 million pricetag.
The school is home to a custom-made stained glass mural — something you see as soon as you enter. The mural portrays St. Joseph and Jesus Christ next to each other in a carpentry shop — a program that the school offers its students.
Students attending the school are primarily from Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake and north of the Red Deer River.
Red Deer Catholic Regonal Schools also opened St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds marking the start of Catholic education in that community. Official opening ceremonies for both schools is scheduled for Sept. 20.
The division consists of 14 schools in Red Deer which includes St. Gabriel Learning Centre and St. John Paul II Catholic Outreach school.
The division opened its last school — Father Henri Voisin School in Red Deer in 2014.