Three Red Deer regional Catholic schools near completion

But no start date yet for St. Patrick’s School reno

Catholic schools officials are gearing up for the long-awaited modernization of St. Patrick’s School in Red Deer, as an Innisfail upgrade hits a minor speed bump.

While reno work is essentially complete on St. Marguerite Bourgeoy School in Innisfail, students who have been learning in other parts of the building can’t move back to the upgraded areas due to a safety concern.

Ken Jaeger, supervisor of support services for Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said fire alarms in the renovated parts of the Grades K-9 school can’t be activated because the electrical box isn’t yet connected in the attached John Wilson School, which remains under renovations.

Jaeger said St. Marguerite Bourgeoy students can’t return to the refurbished school library and a couple of classrooms, until the whole renovation is complete — including the work on the next-door John Wilson School, being undertaken by Chinook’s Edge School Division.

Jaeger expects this will take the rest of the school year.

Meanwhile, work is progressing on schedule for the new $17-million St. Gregory the Great School in Blackfalds. Exterior landscaping will begin shortly and hardwood flooring is being stalled in the gym.

As with the recently completed St. Joseph’s High School in Red Deer, which costs about $36-million, Jaeger believes staff of the K-9 St. Gregory the Great will be able to move in by the end of this school year, while students will start at both schools in the fall.

Catholic schools officials are still waiting for details from the provincial government on the recently approved renovation of St. Patrick’s School in Red Deer. Jaeger said it will be an extensive 2-to-2 1/2-year project, involving the replacement of mechanical and electrical systems and the rejigging of interior space to better suit students’ needs.

“The building is close to 35 years old and things are starting to show their age,” he added, noting St. Patrick’s received only an exterior renovation about four years ago, when more extensive renos were done to the connected D.H. Dawe Community Centre and Red Deer Public school’s G.H. Dawe School.

Jaeger hopes to have design consultants hired for the project by this summer.

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