Delia, Morrin School rebuilds on track

Delia School rebuild in progress. ECA Review/T.Huxley
Written by Terri Huxley

Prairie Land School Division trustees were given an update on the Delia and Morrin School rebuild projects.

Deputy Superintendent Steve Nielson started with Delia, saying ‘it’s going really well.’

He said there have been three major ‘hiccups’ – two water issues and one electrical issue.

The two water issues are good but the electrical is still being looked after.

After three days on site, the company contracted for this job, Shunda found some of the old Delia School after digging some of it up.

Engineers have attended the scene since then to test the soil composition.

“Luckily, it didn’t have to be dug up,” said Neilson. “But those are issues you find whether they are normal or abnormal.”

They have recently selected their prime consultant for the Morrin School build.

Red Deer based company Group2 Architecture and Interior Design was chosen and they have been given a year to design the new school and then there will be another year and a half for the actual build.

Trustees asked which stakeholders are being listened to.

Nielsen mentioned that Morrin Trustee Gwen Hampton as well as Principal Don Yavis, Nielsen himself, two students, teachers and support staff and a public library representative are the stakeholders.

The goal is to create or further utilize student council as well by allowing them to dive deep into what aspects they would like from their future school.

The purpose of this large committee is to get input and ensure architects are not bogged down with too many directions.

COVID-19 update

Superintendent Cam McKeage updated everyone on how Prairie Land is holding up.

Two positive cases have been confirmed in the school division.

On a positive note, it has been found that school attendance has seen an uptick this year over the last couple of years.

McKeage added that responsibility is up to the parents to get their child tested.

Trustees asked about which protocol to follow whether it be from Prairie Land or Alberta Health Services (AHS).

He explained that AHS rules trump school policy.

As for close contacts, there has been a slight change in definition. At first, it was considered that students who share the same class but are still maintaining six feet distance were not considered a close contact.

Now, it has been determined that everyone in the same classroom is a close contact as a new rule of thumb.

Trustee Lindsay Bond shared that many parents are getting frustrated that some of their children can attend school while others are quarantined in their room.

McKeage reiterated parents were asked to do their own due diligence by keeping the child quarantined in their room and cleaning the bathroom after they use it and so on to allow for the other students to attend class. But they can also choose to hold all of their students back if they wish.

Hanna Business Hub

Tammy MacMillan of the Hanna Business Hub and Mark Nikota of Cactus Corridor Economic Development came to give a presentation on what these two entities are all about and how they can benefit Prairie Land.

MacMillan is the business concierge who helps answer questions for newcomers and businesses and their families.

She mentioned that three businesses have been helped already ‘who would have stuck to their day job had there not been this service.

The Business Hub has been in operation since February but was shut down for a few months during the start of the pandemic.

Two roles are federally funded for three years.

There are three mandates the Hub has including assistance for creating a better business ecosystem in the area, provision of working and meeting space and implementing their ‘welcome to our community’ program.

Three anchor tenants have their own office space like Cactus Corridor, the Hanna Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures.

“Everything we do is really collaborative,” said MacMillan. “The key is that we are all there together. All the resources are right there and we can talk to each other. 

“Small organizations need to rely on one another to strengthen the community.”

Cactus Corridor was formed as a non-profit back in 2012 and has four shareholders including the Hanna Learning Centre, the Town of Hanna, the Village of Youngstown and Special Areas.

It is focused on its stakeholders and community projects to invigorate economic development within these areas.

The pair asked trustees and Prairie Land staff to engage teachers and students to share their success stories as they found the area does ‘a poor job at promotion for our community’.

They also asked to be informed of any new teacher or student recruitments and sending them to the hub to get their welcome package and address any questions they may have.

Lastly, they asked to engage both the Business Hub and Cactus Corridor about any opportunities that have collaboration potential.

Neutral Hills Wranglers

Kevin Van Lagen and two baseball players for the Neutral Hills Wranglers attended the trustee meeting to give insight on how the School of Excellence program is going so far.

The division members were presented with a custom jersey and framed photo to show appreciation for providing support and funding for the new field house in Veteran they practice in constantly.

There are 12 players on the team and a thirteenth is expected in February. This will be their first female player to join.

Both players at the meeting mentioned their hitting has improved significantly because of the space.

“Being able to take 100+ swings every day gives you lots of experience,” said Joseph Van Lagen.

There is now a junior program for players ages nine to 13 which the older players rotate and help out every three weeks.

Overall, community service has been a core part of their participation.

This included things like garbage cleanup around town, fixing planters, helping put in the ice at the rink in Consort.

“Community service is included in their programming. It’s the best thing they can do and it’s very much appreciated by the communities,” said Veteran Trustee Marsha Tkach.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.