David Thompson High School has been given an expiration date instead of a modernization plan.
Alberta Municipal Affairs told the Wild Rose School Division (WRSD) they had to “officially close” David Thompson High School (DTHS) by Dec. 31, 2021.
During the modernization project’s design process it was determined the sewage lagoon on the property did not meet code and was going to cost a large sum to bring up to code in order to continue with DTHS’ updates.
The WRSD Trustees were asked to come up with a solution and they decided to cut the three schools down to two.
The proposal to the Alberta Government has DTHS will being closed down, as per request, while the school in Condor will become home to all Kindergarten through Grade 6 and Leslieville will cover Grade 7-12.
WRSD Superintendent of Schools Brad Volkman says after a Value Management evaluation by Alberta Education it was decided the most cost effective plan is to modernized and expand the school in Condor to accommodate all the corridor’s Kindergarten to Grade 6 students.
They also decided the school in Leslieville will be torn down and replaced with a brand new Grade 7-12 school with larger gym and equipped with shops for skills such as welding and construction.
Volkman explains the WRSD Trustees and Administration is currently in a stage of waiting to see if the government is going to approve the plan for funding.
“We’re hoping this coming April that we’ll find out because that’s when they make their announcements typically,” said Volkman, adding the upcoming election could have an impact on funding announcements.
In the meantime, different community members and community associations have banded together to start raising additional funds to further enhance these future projects.
“We’ve been consulting the community all along the way,” said Volkman. “The community is totally aware of our plans and they’re excited.”
Clearwater County has also committed to chipping in funds to help these upgrades be more than the basic buildings the government will pay for.
“We’ve got the community support and now we just need the government support,” added Volkman.
With DTHS’s closure looming in the not-so-distant future of December 2021 there is a chance the plan will not have enough time to be carried out before students have to head to their new schools.
“There may be some in between time there if it’s not quite finished where we’ll have to figure something out… right now we simply have to wait,” said Volkman. “If we don’t get selected here in the spring [by the government] then we’re going to have to start looking immediately at an interim plan and what that interim plan might look like.”
He says that plan may be putting portables alongside the school in Condor so it could handle the Kindergarten through Grade 6 students and then figuring out a way to run a high school program in the current elementary school building in Leslieville.
“That would be a temporary solution,” assures Volkman, adding he and the Trustees feel the government needs to seriously consider funding the project, either this spring or next, because DTHS has to close in 2021.
“We need something,” said Volkman. “We’re hoping we’re going to get it announced this spring.”
No official plans have been made for David Thompson High School and the land after it is closed, but the board will come to a decision after the project has been approved.
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