The space crunch at Red Deer public schools has received a reprieve.
The province will give the Red Deer Public School District five modular classrooms that can be added to existing school buildings to help address space issues at southside schools.
“We’re very relieved because the enrolment pressure in southeast Red Deer has gotten to the point we’re stretched to the absolute limit and we’ve taken back all of the special purpose classrooms — art, computer labs, music rooms and so on — and turned them into regular classrooms. We’ve put classrooms into libraries. We’ve run out of alternatives,” said Red Deer Public School board chair Bill Stuebing.
Two modular classrooms will be put at Mattie McCullough Elementary School, two will be put at École Mountview Elementary School and one will be added to G.W. Smith Elementary School sometime during the next school year.
“This is going to give us five more classrooms and while they won’t help us this year, we were for the most part covered for this year. The big concern was what were we going to do next year,” Stuebing said. He anticipates the modulars will arrive in the late fall or spring.
When the provincial budget came out, it appeared there would be no new school buildings or modulars announced for this year and the public school board and administration feared they would have to wait another year.
The Red Deer Public School District is in the midst of an enrolment boom that started two years ago and will continue for the next three. Another 600 students are expected in southeast Red Deer in the next three years, Stuebing said. So while the modulars are useful, at least one to two new schools are still needed.