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Trustees approve plan to deal with space crisis

Rocky View Schools board of trustees approved an emergency contingency plan to deal with the school space crisis in the division.

Rocky View Schools board of trustees approved an emergency contingency plan to deal with the school space crisis in the division.

“With no capital approvals resulting from the previous two three-year capital plans and none expected for the upcoming two plans, RVS is having difficulty accommodating the future enrolments,” said John Wheatley, director of facility planning.

“We are in a dire situation in terms of accommodating our students.”

The plan includes the sale of the Alberta Transportation Building in Airdrie to generate funds for portables that will serve as a temporary solution.

A new Airdrie Outreach school will be moved to the former Airdrie post office building from the Alberta Transportation Building on Veterans Boulevard to allow for the sale.

Trustee Colleen Munro said she is frustrated with the lack of funds from the Province.

“Not only do we not get core infrastructure from our provincial counterparts, but now we have to sell our own assets to find a temporary solution,” she said.

“It is ridiculous. Capital projects are not even our responsibility but we are not going to turn our backs on the parents who bring their kids to us, so we have to do something about it.”

Nose Creek Elementary in Airdrie will get two additional portables, two units will be added to Rainbow Creek Elementary School in Chestermere, six portables will be added to George McDougall High School in Airdrie, three of the units currently at George McDougall will be moved to Langdon School and 10 portables will be ordered to serve as a starter school in northwest Airdrie.

Trustee Jennifer Avery said she hopes putting together a make-shift starter school does not hinder the division from receiving funding for permanent, core space in the future.

“I’m worried if we start building starter schools, the government will see it as a solution,” she said.

“I don’t want to get the government off the hook for providing core schools. Portables are not the solution.”

The portables will cost more than $10 million.

The money will be diverted out of the operating funds until the money from the sale of the former Alberta Transportation building is available.

In addition, several schools will undergo modifications to accommodate students for the 2010/2011 school year.

The Nose Creek library will be restructured to create two classrooms, Rainbow Creek’s library will be changed to create one classroom, George McDougall’s computer lab will be converted into a classroom and the cafeteria will be changed into a mobile computer lab.

All changes must be approved by Alberta Education, a rule that frustrates Trustee Helen Clease.

“There is no money for schools, so the Province makes us use our own money and then dictates how we can use it,” said Clease.

“Municipal and provincial strategies profoundly effect how we can solve these problems,” said Wheatley.

Residents who are concerned about the space crisis can attend a forum at Airdrie City Hall on June 24 at 7 p.m.

Airdrie Today Staff

About the Author: Airdrie Today Staff

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