Students and grades in Ponoka schools will be shuffled as part of a Wolf Creek’s Public Schools plan to use learning spaces more effectively.
The board of trustees approved a grade reconfiguration of the Ponoka High Composite High School and the Diamond Willow Middle School at a meeting last week.
Under the $12.1-million renovation plan, Diamond Willow will receive a much-needed facelift and the high school’s ongoing renovations will be completed.
The funding is part of the $550 million allotted in late May by Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure’s to modernize 13 schools and build 22 new schools across the province.
The changes likely will not take effect until the renovations are completed.
Superintendent Larry Jacobs said this is part of the plan, made several years ago, to have two school buildings and an outreach school to service the needs of Ponoka students.
Jacobs said when the current modernizations on the existing Grade 9 to 12 school are completed, there would be enough space to accommodate 1,000 students.
By moving to a Grade 7 to 12 school from a Grade 9 to 12 school, the entire space in the school would be used.
At the same time, the middle school will move to a kindergarten to Grade 6 school from Grade 6 to 8. Students from the Ponoka Elementary School will shift to Diamond Willow.
The elementary school will be demolished when the renovations are completed and students have been moved.
Jacobs said the elementary school does not have the capacity for a kindergarten to Grade 6 school.
Jacobs said discussions are underway with school administrators to ensure the designs of the two schools and programming will meet the needs of all students.
Jacobs said the architectural drawings should be completed by the spring, and the tender on the projects are expected to be out by early May or June.
Construction on both sites is expected to begin by next summer.
Jacobs expects students to move into the renovated spaces by fall of 2014.
— copyright Red Deer Advocate