Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools authorities were on “pins and needles” waiting, and then thrilled to learn on Tuesday morning that their number one priority capital project received full funding in this year’s provincial budget.
Guy Pelletier, the district’s school board chairman, said they will now proceed with plans to modernize St. Patrick’s Community School in Red Deer.
While they do not know the detailed amount of funding, he expects it will be in the $10-million range. “It’s a significant modernization.” The K-9 school is at about 130 per cent of its capacity.
It’s great news for the division, but more importantly for the students and staff, Pelletier said.
They have been using every nook and cranny at the school, which has about 600 students. For example, the kindergarten class is basically in a hallway with just doors put on each end, and a small photo copier room is being used as a classroom, he said.
Reconfiguration of some areas within the school will increase the number of teaching spaces in the building. Some minor mechanical and electrical issues will also be dealt with.
Last year the district took Education Minister David Eggen for a tour of the school so he could see for himself the crowding and need for modernization.
“We know we can do better, and today will help us to do that,” Pelletier said.
Pelletier said they will find a way to get as much of the work done without disrupting the learning environment. St. Patrick’s is a year-round school so students have more frequent, shorter breaks.
They hopefully will start the work as soon as this summer, and have it done within two years, he said.
Principal Terri Lynn Mundorf said they felt very blessed to have been chosen as one of the seven schools in the province to receive news that modernization had been approved.
The citymodernized the Dawe pool and common area attached to the school a number of years ago. The exterior of St. Patrick’s was upgraded at the same time, however no interior work was done.