Red Deer Public eyes adding elementary school to capital budget

A new elementary school may top the Red Deer Public School Division’s revised capital wish list.

A new elementary school may top the Red Deer Public School Division’s revised capital wish list.

School board administration asked the board of trustees to consider information on projected city population growth patterns and student populations before setting new construction priorities for the district at its Wednesday board meeting.

The board’s previous No. 1 priority was addressed with the approval of a new elementary school in the Timberlands neighbourhood. Now the board must submit a new three-year capital plan outlining its new construction and modernization needs to Alberta Education by the end of March.

Provincial data presented to the board indicated all the district’s schools populations will grow substantially from kindergarten to Grade 12 over the next 10 years.

“There is a need in the near future to accommodate a larger elementary population in kindergarten to Grade 5,” said Supt. Piet Langstrat. “It looks like our middle school population will grow not as rapidly but will be growing over the next five years.”

He said this leads administration to consider recommending an elementary school followed by a kindergarten to Grade 8 or an elementary school followed by another middle school.

“One thing I know for sure is that we will need another elementary school,” he said.

Associate superintendent, Business Services, Cody McClintock, said information from the City of Red Deer suggests the northeast side of the city will be developed in the next few years.

“We have one school site up there but we do not have any additional sites up there,” he said. “We will be looking at new areas being developed to request new school sites in those new neighbourhoods.”

The second priority on the existing capital plan is purchasing the River Glen School from Chinook’s Edge School Division to house the Gateway Christian School program. Langstrat said administration will likely not change this recommendation.

The modernization projects have not been discussed. On the current plan, Annie L. Gaetz Elementary School and Westpark Middle School are identified.

A draft capital plan is expected to come before the board at its March board meeting.

The revised plan is in place until 2014-15 school year at which time the plan will be reworked. School boards are required by Alberta Education to submit their capital and facilities “wish list” annually.

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l Twenty-four students have registered for the district’s new Spanish Bilingual Program. The program will be housed at the G.H. Dawe Community School starting next fall. Of the 24 registrants, 19 are in kindergarten and five are in Grade 1. The board will decide in the coming months whether a Grade 1 class is warranted.

l The district will be redrawing its school boundaries in light of the new school in the Timberlands neighbourhood. A number of public meetings are expected to be held over the next eight to 12 months. The new boundaries will be in place in 2014.

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