A sod turning ceremony for the future new Ecole la Prairie, which is set to open in September 2014, was held yesterday at the site of the new school.
“This is a big accomplishment. Parents have been lobbying and working on this for a very long time,” Principal Jean Doyon.
Clark Builders has already begun to work on the site. This is going to help them stay on track for opening the school on time.
This school is beyond just Red Deer according to Karen Doucet, president of the school board. “We will have students coming from Innisfail, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake and Lacombe,” she said.
This school will have a lot more space and will be more conducive to a Kindergarten through Grade 12 school.
“We are looking forward to having some space, especially for our older students, middle school and high school students,” said Doyon. “We will have change rooms and a larger gymnasium, some labs, some CTS space for the option classes. That is what we are looking forward to.”
The school’s population has been continuing to grow over the years. The current elementary school has 140 students. The new facility will initially have the potential to have up to 250 students and this number can increase to 300 students if portables are brought in.
This project was not always smooth sailing. One of the difficulties that those trying to support the school were facing was finding the right location. After much hard work the school is going to be located at 4810 35 St.
“This is where the school should be,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling. “This is a historic school site and it is a beautiful setting in the centre of town. What more could a school want?”
The existing building was built in the 1950s and over the years has had many ad-ons done. “It is time for that old building to go and the new building to take its place.”
The current Francophone program has been in its current building in for approximately 18 years and, according to Flewwelling, is a great asset to the community. “We just want to see it grow and flourish and get a new building.”