St. Joseph High School is located north of Timberlands in east Red Deer on the newly named Agora Campus. ((Advocate file photo).

Red Deer’s Agora Campus awaits more high schools

Public and Francophone schools will eventually join St. Joseph Catholic school

A multi-school site in northeast Red Deer has a new name — the Agora Campus.

Now it just needs more schools.

The only one standing at the location east of 67th Avenue and 30th Street is St. Joseph Catholic High School, which opened last fall.

But the site is destined to also accommodate a new Red Deer Public School District high school in future, as well as a Francophone high school, run by the Greater North Central Francophone Education Region out of Edmonton.

Red Deer city councillors heard on Monday that the three school boards wanted a common name for their site, which will eventually feature partnerships between the districts and the community.

Agora comes from the Greek word for gathering place or assembly. ‘Agora Campus’ was considered a fitting moniker for the site since it’s a direct translation in French.

Council unanimously supported the name, considering the location is a planned gathering place for students as well as other city residents.

Three community sports playing fields are being developed on the 60-acres. It already has a field house, which is the new home of the Red Deer Royals and is being used by St. Joseph students.

Some other partnerships at this site will not be happening for many years. Bruce Buruma, communications director for Red Deer Public Schools, said a third public high school for Red Deer is only sixth priority on the district’s building list.

He anticipates it won’t be needed for at least a decade — although that could change with the pace of the city’s population growth.

Ten years is also the minimum estimated time span before a new Francophone high school is built in Red Deer. Robert Lessard, superintendent of the Greater North Central Francophone Education Region No. 2, anticipates the recently built Ecole La Prairie will have enough capacity as a K-12 school for many years.

However, officials from both districts say it’s great to have a spot already available for when they need to build — particularly one that entails partnerships and collaboration.

“It follows our belief in having a space that belongs to the community,” said Buruma, who can envision sharing an auditorium with a future partner in the Agora Campus.

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