PR, Buffalo Head Prairie getting new schools

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The provincial government has announced two new school projects in the Peace River constituency.

The current École des Quatre-Vents building in Peace River will be replaced, and the Blue Hills Community School in Buffalo Head Prairie will get an addition and modernization.

The two Peace Region projects are part of 25 capital projects planned across Alberta announced Nov. 1.

Five of the 25 school projects will be built through controversial public private partnerships, or P3s, but according to Peace River constituency assistant Angela Cobick that doesn’t include the Peace region projects.

MLA Dan Williams says this is “fantastic news” for the schools in his constituency.

Fort Vermilion School Division Supt. Mike McMann agrees.

“It’s going to be night and day different.”

McMann says a modernized and expanded Blue Hills Community School will be a huge benefit to students in the area who until now have had to ride the bus for up to two hours or more to attend school in La Crete.

“There will be no more bus rides for two hours,” says McMann. “They can have more family time, more sleep time, they’re not as exhausted, and their apathy toward school is going to change because school will be right there for them.”

McMann says the government has not yet disclosed how much money it plans on putting toward the project, but the next steps will be planning and engineering.

“This will mean more students will complete high school – which is ultimately our goal,” McMann says.

The Conseil Scolaire du Nord-Ouest [CSNO] is also very pleased there will be an infrastructure project for the replacement of their Francophone K-Grade 8 school.

“The construction of a new school will finally solve the many infrastructure needs at École des Quatre-Vents, especially with regard to accessibility issues, access to a quality gymnasium, equivalent high school programming and many others,” says Brigitte Kropielnicki, directrice générale of the Conseil Scolaire du Nord-Ouest No. 1 [CSNO].

CSNO says the announcement comes after many years of advocacy on the part of the school board and the community, including parents and students.

“The CSNO looks forward to the details regarding École des Quatre-Vents replacement project and thanks the ministries of education and infrastructure for recognizing the critical needs of the community.”

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