Calder School restoration continues at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

By Kirsten Dennis
September 2, 2017 - 6:00am Updated: October 11, 2017 - 2:32pm

After being moved to Sunnybrook Farm Museum in 2008, the Calder School building will finally see its makeover completed this year.

Ian Warwick, executive director at Sunnybrook Farm Museum, said it is exciting to have the project nearly coming to fruition and that Red Deerians are invited to come out and see the new building at the beginning of the 2018 season.

The Calder School building completion precludes the shift of the entrance moving from the North of the farm on 30th street to the South off of Botterill Crescent.

Warwick said the building will not only house the offices for the full-time staff, but will also maintain the history of the one-room schoolhouse. “It will tell the story of the one-room school and its importance in the region for educating kids.”

Calder school was unique in its time because it educated students grades Kindergarten to grade 12. “Kids came from all over central Alberta to finish their schooling at Calder.”

The restoration project, though behind in completion time, is on budget for a total cost of $570,000. The Government of Alberta is contributing $275,000 to the project and the City of Red Deer and Red Deer County are each assisting with $50,000. The remainder of the funding for the project comes from a donation by the Estate of Vladimir Novak.

“We’ve had many discussions about this you know for the $600,000 project cost we could build a new building that would be bigger and have more modern amenities, but we exist to tell a story and preserve history,” said Warwick.

He added that while the project costs more than a new building, the importance of maintaining the story of the Calder School comes first.

“You just have to do your best to preserve history and through that you want to keep these buildings and the stories behind them. If we just a built a new building we wouldn’t have that history, people couldn’t come in and say ‘my grandmother went to this school’ or ‘my grandmother taught in this school’.”

He added that the basement will include an event space to seat up to 100 people with a full kitchen for use as well and the Calder School building will serve as the new entrance to the museum.

This is the third version of the school as the first burnt down in the 1930’s after being built in 1902. During construction of the second Calder School, it too was burnt down. The building that stands at Sunnybrook Farm Museum was constructed in 1932.

“When we stripped the inside it was amazing to walk into it and see that it’s an 85-year-old building and everything is perfect inside, there’s no water damage or anything,” said Warwick.

The addition of the building is an exciting one as it will be the first building on sunnybrook Farm Museum property that can be opened year-round because it is heated.

“It just gives us another opportunity to do programming in the winter and host people in the winter.”

Lacombe mayor Christie receiving AUMA honour

Join the Discussion

We are happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules: Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. See full commenting rules.