Farewell reunion planned

Olds Junior Senior High School’s days are numbered. It’s the last fall students will attend class in the aging building that will be closed early next year when the new Grade 9 to 12 school at the Community Learning Campus in Olds opens.

Olds Junior Senior High School’s days are numbered.

It’s the last fall students will attend class in the aging building that will be closed early next year when the new Grade 9 to 12 school at the Community Learning Campus in Olds opens.

But don’t worry — the Chinook’s Edge school won’t be sold or torn down without a proper farewell at the Goodbye to the Building Reunion set for Oct. 16 to 18.

Maggie Robblee, teacher and reunion organizer, said the reunion isn’t limited to graduates and staff. Anyone who ever attended is invited.

“We’re prepared for 2,000. We just started getting registrations in,” Robblee said.

The first school built on the site in 1904 was demolished to make way for a new “state of the art” school that opened in the 1930s with a gymnasium, polished floors and washrooms with showers. Since few homes at the time had indoor plumbing, students were on a schedule to use the shower.

“Where our building is now, a building for the school has been there for about 100 years,” Robblee said. “It is kind of strange to think we won’t physically be there. There’s a lot of history.”

The existing school is made up of several additions. The oldest section, built in 1952, is still used as class space.

“We call it the Taj Mahal,” laughed Robblee.

Kerry Moynihan, executive director of the Community Learning Campus, said the new high school is about 80 per cent complete. “We’re on par to be finished sometime in December,” Moynihan said.

The $67-million Community Learning Campus project on the Olds College Campus includes the Bell E-Learning Centre, Fine Arts and Multi Media Centre, Bus Maintenance Facility, Health and Wellness Facility and the new school.

Initially, Chinook’s Edge School Division was given $6.8 million by the province to modernize the existing school.

Since the school’s land is split in two by Hwy 27, a new school at another location was favoured. That’s when Olds College, the school division, and municipalities joined forces to push for new facilities to serve multiple groups and purposes.

The fine arts centre opened in February and the Bell centre opened last October.

The school and health and wellness centre, located in the same building, will give students access to a triple gym, indoor running track, basketball courts and fitness equipment area, and more.

Food kiosks will operate in the mall area between the school and wellness centre along with government offices — Alberta Employment and Immigration, Central Alberta Child and Family Services and Alberta Health Services.

Olds high school teachers toured the building recently, as well as an Australian delegation, who were not the first international visitors.

“Our story has now gone global,” said Moynihan about the new campus that leads the way in education, government and community partnership.

“Every second word is wow. That’s what you hear. It’s remarkable for a community this size.”

Robblee said a common question from former students is whether they can bring a sledgehammer to the reunion.

The answer is no.

If whoever buys it decides to demolish the school, there will be a request to sell the bricks as school souvenirs.

“I don’t know what you would do with a brick once you buy it, but they seem to want them and I seem to want one too.”

For more reunion information, go to www.ohsgoodbyereunion.com

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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