Chinook’s Edge School Division has a new home for its Red Deer-area alternative high school on the edge of the city.
Since mid-January, about 160 high school students, as well as adults looking to upgrade their education, have been enrolled at Gasoline Alley Career High, 104-159B Leva Ave., across from Galaxy Theatre.
The outreach school temporarily operated out of Penhold Crossing for about a year until work on the new storefront rental site in Gasoline Alley was complete. Originally located in Red Deer, the school has operated for 21 years.
Principal Daryl Brown said moving to Gasoline Alley has already made the school attractive to more adults.
“Since we walked in the door here a month ago, we probably gained 15 adults simply because we’re closer to Red Deer now. A lot of adults who don’t have access to their own vehicles could not get to Penhold. Now they can take public transportation and get to us,” said Brown at the school’s official re-opening on Thursday.
Currently about 50 out of 110 active students are adults. Funding is provided through Alberta Works for adults who qualify.
“We’re one of the unique outreach schools that actually include adult upgrading. Most do not.”
He said a lot of Red Deer College students are coming to the Gasoline Alley school to upgrade to access college courses.
More immigrants who worked professional jobs in other countries are also coming in for English language training.
High school students come mostly from Red Deer County.
Brown said the school will look at whether summer school could be provided for both youth and adults in Gasoline Alley.
The school has two full-time teachers and another teacher who is on-site one day a week.
He said the new school will have room for more students than the downtown location in Red Deer. Gasoline Alley Career High School was also designed to make students feel at home.
The cheery space has round tables where students can spread out their work adjacent to an open kitchen space where they can grab a healthy snack like fruits and vegetables.
“We built this site so when students walk through the door they feel comfortable. So they feel like they belong. So they feel like they’re accepted,” Brown said.
A small classroom at the school is almost soundproof so teachers can teach small groups and students can take exams. A small office is available for private meetings.
Chinook’s Edge has five Career High Schools. It’s other alternative high schools are in Sylvan Lake, Innisfail, Olds and Didsbury to provide a flexible approach to learning.