The 85-year-old Calder School was hoisted into the air and onto its new foundation at Sunnybrook Farm Museum Wednesday.
Moved to the museum in 2006 from its original location, about 20 km east of Innisfail, its new basement will include a kitchen for catering and a rentable space for community groups that can seat about 100 people. An addition to the school will accommodate the museum’s offices, and the top floor will be set up as a classroom from the early 1900s.
“We’re just really looking forward to having the new building complete before Christmas,” said museum executive director Ian Warwick after watching the school manoeuvred into place on the south end of the museum’s property.
When the school opens next May, it will have the museum’s first year-round program space.
“We haven’t typically been able to do much programming in the winter so this will be a significant change for the society. We’re pretty excited.”
The $600,000 Calder School Project received $275,000 from the province, $50,000 each from Red Deer City and Red Deer County, and was also supported by the estate of Vladimir (Laddie) Novak who left $185,000 to Sunnybrook Farm.
Shunda Construction is working on the project.
In the spring the museum’s main entrance will also move to the south end of the property off Botterill Crescent where a 45-stall gravel parking lot was developed two years ago.
“We’ve had challenges here with parking with not enough space at the north end so this will be the main parking area and people will walk on to the site from the south end.”
Warwick said the farm house where administration is located will find another use.
“We’re still having discussions about whether it’s going to be an office space, or a collection storage building, or an exhibition building. Lots of different options there.”
A Canada 150 grant from Red Deer & District Community Foundation will fund a new storytelling wall at the new entrance to give the history of the museum.
Sunnybrook Farm Museum, located at 4701 30th St. on 10 acres donated by Norman and Iva Bower in 1988, has about 10 buildings, big and small, filled with farm artifacts.