With the rebuild of Westbrook School set to begin in the coming weeks, the school’s fundraising arm, Friends of Westbrook School Society (FWSS), is hard at work raising money for projects at the new building.
“Our school and community is super excited to see the growth in our school and have a new facility that will definitely meet the needs of our students every day, but also offer a real community space,” said Karen Allison, a volunteer with FWSS.
Construction of the new school is scheduled to start in June, and Allison said FWSS is particularly pleased with one facet of the new building – an expanded gymnasium.
“When we got the original scope of the new school, it still had a gymnasium that was too small to host tournaments or to have a spectator viewing area,” she said.
In November 2018, FWSS secured a Community Recreation Funding Capital Assistance Grant of $100,000 from Rocky View County, with Rocky View Schools (RVS) supplying a matching loan of $100,000 that must be paid back within five years. According to Allison, the grant money will fund the addition of 70.4 square metres to the gymnasium.
Allison said the enlarged space won’t only benefit the school by providing more space for events like the Westbrook School Fair and Christmas concert, but will also be a boon for the wider community.
“There’s not a great community space in the vicinity for hosting other events like adult sports teams, family barbecue events – just other community events,” she said. “We could utilize that space after school hours and bring our community together.”
FWSS is now shifting gears to fundraise toward repaying the loan, according to Allison. It received a major boost in that direction in April, with a $10,000 donation from Wynne Chisholm and Jack Anderson of W.A. Ranches Ltd.
“It’s such a generous, kind donation, and we’re super, super appreciative they came forward to do that and support our school and community,” she said.
The school will fundraise the remaining 90 per cent of the loan still owing, Allison added, through school events such as its annual walk-a-thon.
FWSS is also currently running a Trip of the Month fundraiser to generate funds for projects at the new school, including purchasing bleachers for the gymnasium and building a playground. Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis does not permit that money to be used for loan repayment, according to Allison.
Tickets are available for $100, Allison said, and can be purchased by emailing [email protected]. Starting in January 2020 and running for six months, three tickets will be drawn monthly. First prize will win a trip to locations including Hawaii, Mexico, New York City and Disneyland, she said, while second and third place winners will receive $250 cash and $100 cash, respectively. FWSS will also hold an early bird draw June 13 for $1,000.
“We have 500 tickets printed, and we’re certainly hoping to meet the goal of $25,000,” Allison said.
In November 2017, RVS approved the complete rebuild of the aging Westbrook School facility – originally constructed in 1952 – at a cost of $6 million. The school is expected to open for students in January 2020.