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New Blackfalds high school set as grade 9 to 12 school

Iron Ridge Secondary Campus to open in September of 2024
Trustees and Division administration and staff were joined by the Honourable Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education; the Honourable Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka; Blackfalds Mayor Jamie Hoover; Lacombe County Deputy Reeve John Ireland, as well as officials with Concert-Bird Partners, Ainsworth and Iron Ridge Junior Campus students and administrators from Blackfalds’ schools at the groundbreaking for the new high school in Blackfalds in May. (Contributed photo)

Iron Ridge Secondary Campus (IRSC) will officially start as a grade 9 to 12 school when it opens in September 2024.

The decision was announced last Friday by the Wolf Creek Public Schools’ Board of Trustees following a comprehensive public consultation process and grade and boundary review for all the division’s Blackfalds schools.

A review was needed due to the impact of the opening of the new school on enrollment at École Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School (ÉSLCHS) in Lacombe, as high school students residing in Blackfalds currently attend ÉSLCHS but will attend IRSC when it opens.

“The Board of Trustees extends a sincere thank you to everyone who offered feedback as part of this process,” said Tim De Ruyck, WCPS Superintendent.

“It has been well established that a ten-year solution for enrollment pressures simply does not exist in Blackfalds, given the changes in enrollment and anticipated future growth.”

The grade configuration will see Grade 9 students move from Iron Ridge Junior Campus to Iron Ridge Secondary Campus, making the high school a grades 9-12 school.

Iron Ridge Elementary Campus and Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus grade configuration remain as is, and Iron Ridge Junior Campus becomes a grades 7 and 8 school.

In addition, planning will occur to enable the grade 7 and 8 students at Iron Ridge Junior Campus to receive CTS programming next door at the high school, beginning in September of 2024.

The other change will be an expanded attendance boundary for Blackfalds. That will stretch in the rural area surrounding Blackfalds to the north past Township Road 400 and west past Range Road 282 at the Bentley attendance boundary and to the east down in the Joffre area down past Highway 11 at the Clive attendance boundary.

Students in the expanded Blackfalds attendance boundary, who were attending Lacombe schools, will attend Blackfalds schools once the changes go into effect in 2024.

“These changes in attendance boundaries will enable a better balance between Lacombe and Blackfalds on a go-forward basis,” said De Ruyck, adding the Division will continue open communication with families and schools, as transition plans are made.