New middle and high school among top priorities for Chinook's Edge

By Sheldon Spackman
March 14, 2019 - 4:01pm Updated: March 15, 2019 - 8:47am

A new middle school for Penhold and high school for Sylvan Lake are part of the latest capital plan for Chinook’s Edge School Division.

On Mar. 13, District trustees approved the 2020-2023 Capital Plan in response to what officials describe as changing demographics in the community.

A new 250-student classroom addition to Carstairs Elementary School has been identified as the District’s top capital priority, while a new 500-capacity replacement middle school for Penhold has been identified as the number two capital priority.

Currently, grades Pre-K – 2 are offered at Jessie Duncan School in Penhold, with grades 3-6 at Penhold Elementary School, and grades 7 – 12 at Penhold Crossing Secondary.

Kurt Sacher, Superintendent for Chinook’s Edge School Division says they’ve had to make a number of different grade configurations to accommodate the population in Penhold.

“It would be a replacement school for the current Penhold Elementary but it would also be expanded to allow us another 300 spaces to accommodate the growth in the community,” he explains. “Typically when you apply for a school, you construct and build and deliver pretty close to those grade ranges but sometimes there’s a nuance that occurs with the student population where you modify some of the grade structures. So it could possibly change.

“Typically, they’re Grade 5 -8 but those are things that we’d work with the community on,” continues Sacher. “We’d have to take another harder look at the numbers once the funding is approved by Alberta Infrastructure. Once we have a timeline on a new school, then we’d really take a close look at the grade configurations.”

Elsewhere, a new Grade 10-12 high school in Sylvan Lake is number three on the District’s capital priority list, while a new 400-student capacity elementary school in Olds checks in at number four.

Although modernization options have been considered for H.J. Cody, Sacher says it would be an additional high school they would build in Sylvan Lake.

“Typically, it can take years before it makes its way through to Alberta Infrastructure for approval and then it takes years to build,” admits Sacher. “Where we would put the grade levels would be taking Fox Run for example and creating another K – 6 school and then taking a look at the current H.J. Cody, turning it into a Grade 7 – 9 structure and then having a new high school for Grades 10-12.”

Currently, grades 9-12 are offered at H.J. Cody School in Sylvan Lake and grades 10-12 at Sylvan Lake Career High School.

The community also has three elementary schools currently and one middle school.

New Westpark Middle School on track to open this fall

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