INNSIFAIL - Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD) has approved its new 2022-2025 capital plan outlining pressing capital needs.
Accepted by trustees at the recent regularly scheduled board meeting, the plan includes a new 400 capacity K-5 elementary school in Olds to address enrolment pressures.
The Olds project ranks third in the plan, behind a new Penhold middle school and a new high school in Sylvan Lake. Fourth on the list is a new K-8 Liberty Landing school at Gasoline Alley south of Red Deer.
The plan states that as the town of Olds continues to see population growth (11.5 per cent since the 2011 census), there is a need for a new elementary school.
“With continued growth, CESD is in need of additional classroom space at the elementary school level,” the report states. “It should be noted that recent announcements regarding new industry and the creation of over 1,600 new jobs will lead to a sudden and large increase in student enrolment in the town of Olds.
“We expect to see an increase in enrolment as a result of this new industry.”
Ecole Olds Elementary School has a current utilization rate of 93 per cent and is expected to reach 101 per cent capacity in 2024-2025, while Ecole Deer Meadow School has a current utilization rate of 92 per cent and is expected to reach 94 per cent by 2025.
“As the student population grows additional spaces will be needed at Olds High School. CESD will need to add additional classroom space at Olds High School through either an addition or adding re-locatable classrooms. This is currently not listed on the CESD capital plan but will be added once the new elementary school is constructed.”
While not on one of the top four priority list, there is also a growing need for a new school in Carstairs.
“A new 400 capacity school will be needed in Carstairs,” the report states. “The long-term plan is to have this as a grade 5-8 middle school. This is currently not listed on the CESD capital plan but will become a increasing priority over the next several years.”
The capital plan will be filed with the provincial government for consideration by Alberta Education. The complete capital plan is available for viewing on the CESD website.
Short field trips allowed
In other news from the recent board meeting, trustees have approved short local field trips for physical education and outdoor education classes under COVID protocols.
The trips can take place “If it is in a single cohort, no combining of classes, the trip does not expose the cohort to other cohorts or large public groups, any school-owned bus used for the trip is sanitized for each use, and pre-approval is provided by the superintendent,” the division said in a release.
Also during the recent board meeting, trustees approved the establishment of the May City Hutterite Colony School, which will commence operations on Aug. 27, subject to final approval by Alberta Education.