Modular additions approved for three schools

Residential growth in south Red Deer is forcing the Red Deer Public School District to add classroom space to three schools.

Residential growth in south Red Deer is forcing the Red Deer Public School District to add classroom space to three schools.

On Tuesday, Red Deer’s municipal planning commission authorized modular additions to Mountview, Mattie McCullough and G.W. Smith elementary schools. Two new classrooms are proposed for each of Mountview and Mattie McCullough, with one to be added at G.W. Smith.

All will be linked to their schools by an enclosed corridor and their exterior finishes will tie into that of the schools.

Despite authorizing the additions, some commission members worried about the approval process.

City manager Craig Curtis said the portable structures “contribute to a lower aesthetic value” of the schools, particularly as they age. He suggested city staff consider whether modular additions should be subject to periodic review.

City planning manager Nancy Hackett questioned why nearby property owners aren’t notified when schools seek to install modular additions. She recommended that staff address this issue.

Councillor Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer, who is a former teacher, said she sympathizes with the school district. Its ability to expand and build schools is dependent on government funding.

“They’re desperate,” she said, noting that some schools are forced to use libraries and other non-teaching space as classrooms.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling observed the Southbrook, Inglewood, Aspen Heights and Vanier Woods subdivisions have all been developed without any new schools being built.

Bruce Buruma, director of community relations with the school district, confirmed after the meeting that existing schools in the area are being affected. Modular additions are one way to cope.

“This is providing relief for some of the space crunch we’re experiencing, particularly in the south end of Red Deer,” he said, adding that the modulars are expected to relieve current space constraints and give the district room to accommodate anticipated future growth.

George Berry of Berry Architecture & Associates spoke on behalf of the school district at the commission meeting. He said later that the modular additions project should go out to tender within four to six weeks, and be completed as soon as possible.

The schools will cope until then, said Buruma.

“In the past where we’ve had art rooms and computer rooms, those are no longer there.”

Long term, he added, new capital investment is the solution to the problem.

“Our No. 1 priority right now is a new school in the Aspen Ridge area.”

However, with the tight finances the province is dealing with, there’s no certainty when that project might receive a green light.

Just Posted

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

Parenting: Every woman will have a different pregnancy experience

Wife whose hormones are unbalanced can be unpleasant experience

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Turning on Trump doesn’t buy credibility for black Americans

WASHINGTON — For years, Omarosa Manigault Newman stood at Donald Trump’s side,… Continue reading

Senior Chinese monk accused of sexual misconduct quits post

BEIJING — One of China’s most high-profile Buddhist monks has resigned from… Continue reading

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was… Continue reading

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

GENOA, Italy — Italian emergency workers pulled two more bodies out of… Continue reading

Constellation Brands spending $5 billion to increase stake in Canopy Growth

SMITH FALLS, Ont. — Constellation Brands has signed a deal to invest… Continue reading

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

TORONTO — When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her… Continue reading

Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

TORONTO — The case of Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard, who faces three… Continue reading

Fredericton woman recounts terrifying moments after gunshots rang out

FREDERICTON — She awoke to the crack of gunfire, the shots fired… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month