The new Catholic high school underway on the east side of Red Deer continues to be headed toward a finish that is months ahead of schedule.
St. Joseph High School could be completed in early February, instead of the set date of June, Ken Jaeger, supervisor of Support Services for Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said.
The school is designed for an initial capacity of 900 Grade 10, 11 and 12 students. They are anticipating between 550 and 600 students in the first year when it opens in September, he said.
In the future the school could be expanded to 1,200 students, which would be similar in size to the school district’s other high school in Red Deer, Notre Dame High School.
There are about 1,700 students at Notre Dame, which was designed for about 1,300. That school presently has 10 modulars that will be relocated to other schools once the pressure is off when St. Joseph opens.
Jaeger said the main reason that St. Joseph High School is so ahead of schedule is because a different construction method, known as Integrated Project Delivery, was used.
It involves a collaborative approach where at the very beginning of design the entire construction team and all the trades, designers and engineers are at the table from day one, working together to solve problems that crop up in a construction project.
The high school was bundled together with another new school for the district, St. Gregory the Great in Blackfalds, with the total cost being $53 million.
The early turnover of the school, which is on budget, will give the principal and staff time to put everything together, including ordering furniture, over a staggered period rather than trying to rush everything over a month to six weeks.
The school will boast a collaborative learning environment, with some traditional classroom spaces, but a very “open, spacious, wonderful gathering space,” Jaeger said.
Collaborative learning allows for students and teachers to work more closely together with other students and teachers.
“We’ve designed the building to enhance that learning opportunity,” he said.
St. Joseph also has two partnerships — one with the Red Deer Royals who will have their field house at the school, and the other with the City of Red Deer where extra change rooms and a coach’s room have been added because of the adjacent soccer pitches.
The new school is located at 100, 2700 67th St., essentially at 30th Avenue and 67th Street, which is on the southwest edge of the new Evergreen neighbourhood.