Chinook’s Edge seeking further input on Penhold school

Chinook’s Edge School Division will continue to receive public feedback about design possibilities for a Grade 7-12 school slated to open in September 2014 in Penhold.

Chinook’s Edge School Division will continue to receive public feedback about design possibilities for a Grade 7-12 school slated to open in September 2014 in Penhold.

Earlier last week, a public forum drew about 100 students, parents and community members where they offered suggestions as to what the new school will need.

Ray Hoppins, associate superintendent/system services for the division, said on Friday that residents are providing great suggestions for the 500-student school that will be built adjacent to the Penhold Regional Multiplex.

“They gave us a lot of suggestions about programming to offer in the school and they also gave suggestions on the transition for kids and how to basically open the school,” said Hoppins on Thursday. “They gave us ideas about transportation and ideas about attendance areas — all very helpful to us.”

Staff were also consulted at four schools — River Glen School in Red Deer, Jessie Duncan School and Penhold School in Penhold, and Poplar Ridge School outside Red Deer.

In September, the division also phoned parents of 163 students to get their input. Suggestions include sharing a single library space with the Town of Penhold’s library within the multiplex.

Some people would also like to see the school attached to the multiplex. Others would like to see construction of a second gym to join up with the multiplex gym.

They would also like a 21st century school that creates open spaces, maximizes instructional space, minimizes traditional hallways and allows for collaboration of students and staff. Parents also highly recommended planning for spaces that fully support Career and Technology Studies programs like community health, and cosmetology as well as programs in arts, band and drama.

“There’s a real popular sentiment that (the school) would be great to have a sports, athletic and fitness focus,” said Hoppins.

Hoppins said more input is welcome by phoning him at 403-227-7071 or through email at rhoppins@chinooksedge.ab.ca

Information can be found online at http://www.chinooksedge.ab.ca/New%20Penhold%20School.php

The school will be built as a P3 partnership where it will be built and maintained by a company for 30 years.

Hoppins said there are three steps next in the process before construction on the 4,000-square-metre building would get underway in 2013.

Those steps are: working on building design over the next couple of months, developing a joint-use agreement with the Town of Penhold, and having the school board decide whether it should become a Grade 7-12 school in 2014 or at a later date.

Hoppins said it could open as a Grade 6-9 school, for instance, and later grow to a Grade 12 school.

There is no high school in Penhold right now.

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— copyright Red Deer Advocate