Construction of the new Westpark Middle School should be complete by September 2019. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Summer construction for Red Deer and area schools

Hard hat activity at WestPark and St. Patrick’s schools

Work will begin this summer to expand five Catholic schools around Central Alberta as well as the continued construction of Red Deer Public’s new middle school in West Park.

Della Ruston, associate superintendent of system services for Red Deer Public Schools, said the $15-million project to build a new Westpark Middle School is on schedule and on budget.

“We made some really significant progress because the weather has been so beautiful,” Ruston said on Thursday.

“If you drive by you can see the significant progress and you can really kind of see the character of the building. It’s getting exciting.”

She said 95 per cent of structural steel is erected, 85 per cent of second floor decking is installed, and 75 per cent of concrete block sheer walls is in.

“Bell’s Supernet representatives were on site to plan their work so lots of great things are happening.”

The existing school, built in from 1969, will be demolished once the slightly larger school opens in September 2019. The utilization rate of the school is at 102 per cent with about 480 students.

Ruston said elsewhere in the district changes will be made inside Gateway Christian School to create new classrooms to alleviate crowding.

Ken Jaeger, supervisor of support services with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, said the $15-million renovation of St. Patrick’s Community School begins in early July with the demolition and removal of some existing classrooms.

Built in 1981, it’s the first major renovation project for the year-round school.

Jaeger said the division has been requesting the renovation for about six years.

“We’re excited to finally get St. Pat’s going,” Jaeger said.

Modernization will see eight aging classrooms demolished, and the construction of six new classrooms. Upgrades will also be made to mechanical and electrical systems, along with some architectural renovations.

Capacity at the school will increase to 750 students from 600. Right now there are about 675 students enrolled.

The project will be done in phases and will take about 1.5 years to complete. Kindergarten and Grade 1 students will be moved to a modular space at St. Teresa of Avila School, but other students will remain on site.

Eleven modular classrooms will be added to Catholic schools in Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Sylvan Lake and Olds. Four modulars will go to St. Matthew Catholic School, Father Henri Voisin gets three modulars, École Our Lady of the Rosary School gets two and Holy Trinity Catholic School will have two.

“This has been a bit of relief for us. We’ve seen steady growth across the division for the last several years so we’re full.”

The intention is to have most of them operational by September, but Alberta Infrastructure has experienced some modular construction delays, Jaeger said.

“Suppliers are struggling a little bit with the steel supply so there will be a bit of a delay of the opening for some.”

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