Friends of Morrin School show progress

Written by Terri Huxley

Friends of Morrin School Council (FMSC) executive team Julie Robison, chair, Corinna Borsheim, co-chair, Robyn Harvey, secretary, and Terra Adams, treasurer, visited council virtually for a presentation.

With goals of ‘drawing students from all over’ and making the school a new community place as well, the executive was happy to introduce their success and future plans up to this point.

They hope the school will be a crown jewel of the community, creating a vibrant, enriching factor to Morrin and Starland County.

The FMSC was established in 2006 but with the announcement of a new school from the Alberta Government in 2019, fundraising has ramped up

An inspection on the school was done by an engineering firm in March of last year where they determined the school had plenty of deficits that made this rebuild acceptable and that any renovations would be, in the long run, pointless.

It came by surprise for plenty of members in the community, including members of the FMSC since Delia School has announced their new school in the past two years.

“None of us believed that it was possible, not a hope in hell,” said Robison.

The project scope comes in at $806,300 which needs to be raised in order for the footprint of the school to be enlarged and added to the blueprint by fall 2020.

They determined when speaking with the community and stakeholders that the top three priorities were to have 100m2 space within the gym to accommodate bleachers for seating of up to 150 people at a cost of $405,500.

Second was establishing a community library, increasing the allotted space Alberta Education will provide at 80m2 up to 120 m2. This costs $152,800.

The Village of Morrin recently conducted a survey on if the library located on Main Street between the hotel and grocery store should be included in the new school to which the main answer was yes.

Prairie Land School Division has only two or three places within its division that don’t have community libraries in their schools including Morrin.

“There is so much it could offer for this community,” she said.

Lastly, an increase in educational space was highlighted as they want to expand this space by 65m2 for a price of $248,000.

Within the first eight days when the fundraising campaign launched, they were able to collect $17,050 in legacy campaign donations and an additional $30,000 in naming campaign donations.

Rumours of the current gym being converted into a permanent shop once the new school is ready were confirmed by the group.

“We do believe there is a significant potential for them to refurbish to create a shop with mechanics and industrial arts, etc.,” said Robison.

This project would, however, be in the hands of Prairie Land and Alberta Education.

The group connected with Starland County as currently 133 students, 86 per cent of the school’s population, resides in the county.

They asked for $200,000 over four years from the county.

After the presentation, council deliberated.

A motion was carried to fully fund the $200,000 donation over four years with the excess going to bleachers and having Starland County named in the library as part of the naming campaign.

Bridge inspections

Girders for various bridges around the county are now crumbling away as the cement used at the time of installation was not up to code according to Menage.

“It’s gotten to the point we got to do something right away,” said Menage, saying that 36 of 88 bridges within Starland have shown crucial issues that must be addressed.

One of their newest bridges at 20-years-old has particularly been showing signs.

Alberta Transportation, the entity who originally contracted the work and bought the lower grade material to build these girders back in the day, has been notified of the problem.

They recommended a power wash be done followed by a seal before they get worse as a temporary fix for now.

Menage explained that doing this for six girders will cost $9,000 whereas getting all of them done for $37,000.

Replacement of these girders is expected to be in the range of $173,000.

“This is a repair I feel needs to happen right away,” reiterated Menage.

According to other members of the Rural Municipalities Association, many counties in Alberta have been experiencing the same issues as they also had work done around the same time, using the same sub-par concrete approved by the province.

Reeve Steve Wannstrom said this must be brought to MLA Nate Horner’s attention for possible compensation since this was their issue to begin with.

Council passed a motion allowing public works to fix them with power wash and sealant with the intention of seeking funding later.

County building nearing completion

In Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Shirley Bremer’s report to council, she spoke about the progress of the county building.

She noted that at their last building meeting Eagle said that everything is going well and right on schedule with the new facility.

They started site work this past Monday and will get the drainage ditch built and landscaped.

They have awarded the landscaping tender to Apollo and once the site work is done, they will be starting.

As a bit of food for thought for councillors, CAO Bremer asked them to consider if and what names should be given for the four meeting rooms within the new county building.

Thoughts of naming them after public figures or each of the four hamlets including Craigmyle, Michichi, Rumsey and Rowley within Starland were brought up.

Regional Emergency Bylaw 

A motion to establish and give three readings to the revised Regional Emergency Management Agency bylaw was carried out by council at their regular meeting on We. June 10.

The bylaw is meant to establish rules around acting as a regional committee from time to time to assist villages if they have issues or vice versa.

Summer meetings

Council will be getting a little bit of a summer break after a motion was passed to have only one meeting per month compared to two for the months of July and August.

“We don’t get as much correspondence and such during this time,” said CAO Bremer.

Furniture tender

Five companies provided quotes for providing new office furniture throughout the new building for meeting rooms, a few office spaces and council chambers.

Prices varied between $185,974.77 at the highest and $174,000 at the lowest.

Council carried a motion to go with Looker Office Furniture based in Red Deer for the lowest price.


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.