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Local schools get money to modernize

Province funds renos for St. Albert Catholic High and Legal's École Citadelle

By: Kevin Ma

  |  Posted: Tuesday, Feb 04, 2014 03:30 pm

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St. Albert Catholic High students were flying high this Tuesday after the province announced it will spend $21 million to upgrade their school.

St. Albert MLA Stephen Khan popped into the school’s start-of-the-semester assembly Tuesday to say that the province has approved a major modernization of the building.

Khan said he grew up about 150 metres from the school and has many fond memories of it.

“We’re going to take what’s one of the best high schools in the province … and we’re going to turn it into one of the best facilities and one of the best schools in all the world.”

Catholic board superintendent David Keohane confirmed that the modernization will cost about $21 million. It was the top priority on the board’s capital upgrades list.

The modernization is actually a continuation of one started back around 2008, said co-principal Garret Doll. Back then, the school added a new meeting space (the Hawk’s Nest) and gymnasium to the building.

The school was originally built in 1967, long before the advent of power-hungry features like Wi-Fi, Doll said.

This latest round of renos will include modern pipes and wiring to support the school’s new needs, Doll said. They’re going to expand the career and technology studies lab and fitness room, add new change rooms, upgrade the science labs, build a new workspace for staff and create new special-needs and phys-ed programs.

It’s extremely exciting, Doll said.

“It’s going to be touching students throughout the school.”

Work will likely be complete by 2016, Keohane said.

Legal cash

Francophone students in Legal also got some modernization dollars last week.

Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec dropped by Legal’s École Citadelle Friday to say that the province will fund a modernization of the school.

Francophone board superintendent Henri Lemire pegged the bill for the reno, which is already in progress, at $400,000 to $500,000.

École Citadelle is Legal’s francophone school, and is housed in the old convent building attached to the Centralta Community Centre.

The convent itself is about 93 years old and full of extraneous storage rooms and bathrooms, said principal Michelle Baril.

“It wasn’t really built to be a school.”

As a result, students are cramped, as their classrooms are about 40 per cent smaller than average.

The school started renovating last year by knocking down some walls, adding a fence and storage room, putting in new intercoms and security systems, and moving the front office, Baril said.

The work is about 90 per cent done at this point, Lemire said. The grant is meant to reimburse the school for its costs.

“It’s a good transition towards a new school in a few years.”

These announcements were part of the province’s $503 million plan to build 50 new schools and modernize 70 by 2016.

A $10 million modernization of St. Albert’s W.D. Cuts was announced last month.


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