Three-year capital plan priorities laid out

Written by Terri Huxley

Prairie Land School Division trustees and administration came together for the first time since the pandemic began two years ago on March 22, 2022.

Many topics were discussed including the approval of the three-year capital plan (2021-2024).

The division’s three priorities have gone unchanged from last year but a fourth item was proposed.

The first three included the modernization of the schools at Consort and Altario in that order.

The fourth was the need for a stand-alone automotive shop at JC Charyk which could expand on the popular shop and automotive programs which also falls under the Innovation theme that Hanna’s school has chosen as their school of excellence.

Superintendent Cam McKeage shared that the existing one is fairly small with students and equipment being used – automotive taking up the majority of the space.

Administration felt that automotive one would open up fabrication work and other areas of potential if they were to have a three-bay stand-alone garage outside the shop itself under a $500,000 investment.

The idea would be for it to be heated and have one vehicle lift.

The other three priorities are to be followed through first but administration wished to start getting conversations at this time.

Trustees passed the three-year capital plan with the addition of the automotive shop as the fourth priority.

School rebuilds

Assistant Steven Neilsen shared the latest news on the Delia and Morrin school rebuilds.

For Delia, the old school has officially been demolished and removed. This now clears up space for a new parking lot, playground and green space which will be landscaped later this year.
He shared that many people from the community have come by to take pictures and some have even asked for a brick souvenir but Shunda does not allow that.

There is still recycling to do on-site with debris and garbage but is mostly cleared.

The division has applied to get a new playground to add to the original one but was initially rejected. Since then the province has taken a new look at the proposal, agreeing to the new playground.

Trustees questioned if the old one would not be reinstalled. Administration found they will have volunteers install both. The old playground will have only some parts making a return while others will not.

The new one will have a more natural theme to it with plenty of space for climbing, ziplining and even an outdoor classroom.

As for Morrin, administration and some trustees have submitted the scoring guides for general contractors.

They will be meeting with representatives from Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure to determining a winning contractor for the project.

It will take a couple of weeks before an offer to the contractor chosen will be made.

MLA meeting

Prairie Land had a sit-down with MLA Nate Horner on Mon. Feb. 28.

Board chair Hollee Smith felt it was a good meeting with good discussion.

The purpose was to reconnect on pertinent issues and questions the division has at present.

“The intention is to let him know what is happening here and what we need so he has it in his pocket [for advocating],” said Chair Smith.

One issue the division has been hearing is the updated Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum.

Superintendent McKeage shared that it will be fairly easy to implement and found that Math and English subjects were not too bad and that there were some welcome improvements to it as well, the main difference being competencies-based instruction versus content instruction.

The narrative from administration and staff after reviewing found it won’t change too much from what is already practiced.

Altario School water

Six years ago, the filtration system at Altario School was changed out. Since then, many who use the water have found it has a ‘bad taste and smell’.

Although safe to drink as it is tested daily, the division has been working with Special Areas to deal with the problem by looking at a new water treatment system.

Three companies in Red Deer have been quizzed on doing the work.

Administration found one that fit the bill and will have a new water treatment system installed in April for $20,000.

This will make the water more palliative for staff and students come April.

International developed courses

Trustees passed a motion to include a new course geared towards international students who use English as a second language.

Although offered at JC Charyk School in Hanna, anyone in the division will be able to join online.

The program shares what Canada is all about and was created by the Edmonton public school system.

Trustees agreed to add this as an option to the division for one and half years.


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.