The Red Deer Public School District is gearing up to open their new elementary school in Inglewood this fall.
Media and school officials had the chance to tour the Don Campbell Elementary School which is about three months ahead in the construction phase.
About 350 students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 will attend the school this fall. The school has capacity for 500 students in total. The facility will serve students in the Inglewood/Ironstone neighbourhood as well as the Vanier/Vanier East neighbourhoods.
The school has 19 classrooms and two outdoor learning spaces. In some classrooms, garage doors separate the spaces, but can be opened to encourage more of a collaborative learning common. There are also bright, open spaces and there will be bright colours throughout the facility. A room in the school has been dedicated to be shared between the school and the community where groups and organizations have the ability to utilize it as well after school hours.
The elementary school was named after Don Campbell, a long-time teacher and principal in Red Deer. Some members of his family were on hand for the tour on Wednesday.
Jan Ludwig, Campbell’s eldest daughter said the space is ‘amazing’.
“I’m excited about the beautiful, innovative learning spaces. I think they have really paid a lot of attention to some great innovative ideas in education. It’s lovely, it has bright, open spaces and a real feel of community,” said Ludwig, who is a teacher in Red Deer herself.
She added she thinks her dad would be, “Over the moon” with how the school has turned out. “I think from that community aspect, he would be absolutely thrilled. I know he would be over the moon.”
Bev Manning, chair of the Red Deer Public School Board, said the new school will help spread out students in Red Deer’s east side.
“The growth in Red Deer has been on this side of town so we’re definitely feeling the pressure and have felt the pressure at Barrie Wilson (Elementary School) and Mattie McCullough (Elementary School) – those two schools have been working really hard to accommodate those students,” she said, adding the school board has been wanting the new facility for about 10 years. “We’ll siphon off a few of them (students) and take a little bit of a breather. It takes the government quite a while to approve new schools and I think this is going to keep us okay for a few years.
“We are feeling a pinch at the middle school level now, so we’re needing to work at lobbying the government for a new middle school but I think this will help alleviate those pressures that we have been feeling.”
Cam Pizzey, principal at the Don Campbell Elementary School, said there is a lot of excitement around the new facility.
“We are very excited, especially the fact that we are well ahead of schedule. It might be an opportunity to get some staff in place and then we can start working and building a culture for this school together,” he said. “There’s a lot of colour with the idea that it’s a fun place to be and I’m really looking forward to that. There is a lot of flexible seating, lots of area where the students can work together in – tons of collaboration and collaborative opportunities for teachers and staff to get involved in.”
Pizzey said he is planning on opening the school up somtime in June for families and community members to come and see the space before fall classes begin.