Province announces new elementary school for Airdrie
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 06:00 am
There will be a new elementary school in King’s Heights by 2016.
The announcement was made by Alberta Minister of Infrastructure Ric McIver on Feb. 13.
McIver visited R.J. Hawkey School to make the announcement, and many students from the Kindergarten to Grade 5 school in Big Hill Springs will transfer to the new King’s Heights building when it is completed.
The new school will house 900 students, providing a modern learning space, while reducing crowding and class sizes at other elementary schools and addressing enrolment pressures in the growing King’s Heights community.
“The provincial government recognized the growth rate in Airdrie and the amount of young families with school-age children moving here,” said McIver. “We talked to and listened to the (Rocky View) School Board and we’re glad to be able to address their needs.”
Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees Chair Colleen Munro addressed the student body at R.J. Hawkey, inquiring about how many students currently live in King’s Heights. Nearly one third of the hands in the gym shot up in the air.
“When I was in Grade 2, I moved to a brand new school and I remember it was so neat to see the new floors and classrooms, and that’s what many of you will get to experience in a few years,” said Munro.
The Alberta government has committed to building 50 new schools and modernizing 70 others as part of their Building Alberta Plan; the 70 modernization projects are all currently underway and with McIver’s announcement on Feb. 13, 45 of the new school projects are underway and the remaining five schools will be announced this month.
In Airdrie, this is the sixth new school to be announced in the last three years, and the second elementary school to be announced, along with a new K-4 school to be built in Cooper’s Crossing that was announced in December.
Two new schools are slated to open in 2014: C.W. Perry Middle School located at First Avenue and Sagewood Boulevard, and the Chinook Winds community will be home to the new W.H. Croxford High School.
Mayor Peter Brown said he was thrilled by McIver’s announcement and the work of the Province and school board.
“This is a tremendous day for us,” said Brown. “That the Province is recognizing our growth pressures and that RVS has stepped up to ease the pressure on crowding in our schools.”
According to the Alberta government, the new building will feature bright, open spaces and through the use of natural light and advanced ventilation systems that enhance air quality, and circulation, this new school will benefit students and teachers by providing healthy learning and working environments.
“Students deserve schools tailored to meet their educational programming needs and they deserve to attend classes in their communities near their homes,” said McIver. “That’s why we are building and modernizing schools across Alberta, so students have access to the bright, open, state-of-the-art facilities they need to do their best work and fulfill their potential.”
Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson was also in attendance for the announcement and was pleased to see that city-wide issues for Airdrie are being recognized by the Province.
“Over the next two to three years you’re going to see these new schools completed and moved into,” said Anderson. “Every single year, you’ll start to see classroom sizes shrink, we’re still growing, but with the amount of schools going up we should more than be able to compensate. Classroom sizes was a huge issue in Airdrie not more than three years ago, the way that healthcare is the big issue now, so it’s great to get this issue dealt with and be able to move towards the next.”
The cost of construction of the new school will not be released until after the project has gone to tender.