A drawing of the new Westpark Middle School. (Drawing provided by Red Deer Public School District)

Red Deer Public Schools “going for gold” with new school

Two new public school projects moving along

The Red Deer Public School District hopes to raise the environmental bar with the tender for the new Westpark Middle School only weeks away.

Della Ruston, RDPSD associate superintendent of System Services, said Monday that 80 per cent of the design work is completed and they are just waiting for a development permit for the new school that will replace the aging Westpark Middle School.

The new school will be located just steps away from the old school, to the southwest of it on the same parcel of land at 3310 55th Ave. The tender will go out in late January. Construction will start this spring, with completion in December 2018, and students moving into the new school in January 2019, Ruston said.

The Grades 6, 7 and 8 school now houses 450 students, and its replacement will have a 500-student capacity. Westpark Middle School was up for modernization but when a close look was taken at costs, it was determined that it was better to build new school than modernize. The old school, which is about 50 years old, will be demolished after the students are moved into the new one.

The provincial government expects that schools will be built to the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) minimum standard but they are “going for gold”, Ruston said. The school, for example, will have green roofs so that plants can be grown on them, and a rainwater collection system.

Part of the new school includes a partnership with the City of Red Deer so it can be used by the community after hours. There’s also a partnership with Red Deer Minor Baseball, which has ball diamonds at the site, and the organization will have an office at the school.

A higher than usual number of general contractors — 19 — have expressed interest in the project, Ruston said.

The other new school project underway in the public district, and nearing completion, is Don Campbell Elementary School, a new K to 5 school in Inglewood.

It is ahead of schedule and the district is now hoping for an April project turnover, rather than June. The school is expected to open in September 2017.

One of the unique characteristics of the 500-student school is a music room in the centre of the school with a large open round area where they will be able to stage performances. The school will also have three outdoor classrooms.

Also in partnership with the city, there will be community gathering space, Ruston said.

The top capital project priority now for the public district is a middle school in Timber Ridge.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

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