The Town of Blackfalds is one step closer to its first high school.
Full construction funding from the provincial government for the new school, which will accommodate 850 students, was announced at Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus in Blackfalds on Tuesday.
“As the community’s grown, and as our student population has grown, we’ve absolutely been working toward this announcement. I’m very, very thankful and appreciative that it happened today,” district superintendent Jayson Lovell said, adding this new school has been on the district’s radar for at least five years.
Blackfalds does not have a high school, so many students are bused to Lacombe Composite. Lovell said the new school will help alleviate capacity pressures in Lacombe.
“We’re currently running at about close to 85 (to) 87 per cent at Lacombe Composite High School. With this project coming on stream, as we project out to opening, which is likely going to be a three-year window, when we look at the numbers and projections in Lacombe, we’ll be in a place where that’ll be closer to 95 to 100 per cent capacity.
“The ability to move that school down in population and have students here gives us more options,” said Lovell.
The new facility will be located on a parcel of land next to Iron Ridge Junior Campus, on the west side of town.
“We have the ability to build that school on that site. Also there’s a redesign of that whole space that the town has put forward, with a master plan that includes enhanced parking, recreation facilities. That’ll be a partnership opportunity for us,” said Lovell.
The district will meet with Alberta Infrastructure on Friday to discuss the timeline of construction.
“We’re optimistic that the design (phase) will move forward fairly quickly and construction will be scheduled … in the near future,” he said.
Pam Hansen, Wolf Creek Public Schools board chair, said this has been needed for a long time.
“It was so overdue for Blackfalds to have a high school,” said Hansen.
“Today’s announcement is a tremendous next step toward a new high school for the community of Blackfalds.”
Hansen said Wolf Creek will consult with the public about its greatest wants and needs at the high school.