Modulars to add space to schools

Students in four Red Deer and Sylvan Lake schools will get some extra space in which to learn next year, with local school divisions getting a break on paying for that space.

Students in four Red Deer and Sylvan Lake schools will get some extra space in which to learn next year, with local school divisions getting a break on paying for that space.

Alberta Education is doling out a total of 132 new and reallocated modular classrooms to school divisions in the province for the 2014/15 school year, including 11 to Central Alberta divisions. The biggest recipient is the Red Deer Catholic division, which has been granted six of the eight portables it had sought.

Four classrooms — which can accommodate 25 to 30 students — will go to the overcrowded Notre Dame High School, and another two have been allocated to Camille J. Lerouge School.

Board chair Guy Pelletier said the portables will eventually be moved to St. Francis of Assisi Middle School.

C.P. Blakely school in Sylvan Lake is also set to receive four modular classrooms next year. With 450 students in a 380 student-capacity space, the school library and staff room have been used as classrooms for K-5 students this year.

“Just looking ahead the next couple of years while we’re waiting for our new school to be built, we’re going to need the four, so we’re pretty fortunate,” said Chinook’s Edge School Division superintendent Kurt Sacher.

Red Deer Public School Division has been granted one portable for West Park Elementary School next year.

The board had been granted two portables for the school last year but did not accept them because a provincial change in the funding model would have required the division to cover 50 per cent of the cost of transportation and set up, estimated at over $100,000 per unit.

The government is now requiring jurisdictions to contribute only a flat rate of $50,000 per unit for delivery and set up. School divisions will now have to cover the full cost, though, of any linkages between the new classrooms and the main school structure, up from 50 per cent last year.

Wolf Creek Public Schools had asked for two modulars for Iron Ridge Elementary School in Blackfalds, but has not received a positive reply.

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