The largest rural school division in Alberta is going back to its roots.
River Glen School and Chinook’s Edge Career High School will leave Red Deer when the Chinook’s Edge School Division opens its new Penhold school in 2014.
“The board is very committed to moving out of Red Deer,” said superintendent Kurt Sacher. “It’s just something that doesn’t make sense for a rural school division like Chinook’s Edge to have two of its schools in another jurisdiction’s area.”
In May 2011, Alberta Education announced funding for four new schools in Central Alberta –– three in Red Deer and one in Penhold.
Chinook’s Edge will open a Grade 7 to Grade 12 school next to the Penhold Regional Multiplex in the fall of 2014.
At the same time, Jesse Duncan School in Penhold will be reconfigured to a kindergarten to Grade 2 school and Penhold School will be configured to a Grade 3 to Grade 6 school.
Students from the River Glen School (kindergarten to Grade 12) will have the option to transfer to the Penhold schools or others in the division.
The Red Deer Public School Division has its eye on the River Glen School building at 4210 59th St. to house its Gateway Christian School.
The division is waiting for approval from Alberta Education.
A location for the outreach school has not been determined. Sacher said it will be outside Red Deer city limits and it will relocate within a few months of the new school opening.
Meanwhile, division staff will continue to consult with parents about the transition and possible transportation routes. Parents were contacted late last year through a public forum and telephone calls.
“In the Penhold area, people are very excited to be able to have kindergarten to Grade 12 right in their community with a brand new school right next to the Multiplex,” said Sacher.
Staff at River Glen have been consulted and several will be re-assigned to the new school. Sacher said all staff will be kept within a 30-minute drive of Red Deer when they are assigned new positions within the division.
Last week, the board of trustees of the Chinook’s Edge School Division designated the new school in Penhold a Grade 7 to Grade 12 school.
The school is expected to open with 350 students.
“The bulk of the feedback we have received is excitement but there are certainly some people who will find the transition a bit of a challenge, but we will work with them closely to try to do the best we can in the move,” said Sacher.
Chinook’s Edge has 41 schools, including in communities such as Delburne, Penhold, Innisfail, Sylvan Lake and Bowden.