A replacement school for Vera M. Welsh Elementary was approved for design plan funding by Alberta Education after more than 20 years of advocacy efforts.
The division’s plan includes replacing the current school with a new Kindergarten to Grade 3 school that can accommodate up to 350 students. The design plan process could include choosing a location for the new school, hiring an architect to design the school, and collecting all the information that will be needed to send the project to tender.
A number of issues have been identified with the existing school to support replacement, including its proximity to the railroad tracks, and an underground spring that runs through the lower mechanical room.
Northern Lights Public School Board of Trustees (NLPS) has been working for two decades and Board Chair Karen Packard says they are overjoyed to see that this project is finally moving forward.
“This is a result of the continued efforts of parents, staff, former and current trustees, and the community to emphasize the importance of this project and the impact it will have on students. We are grateful to the many people who have written letters, raised the issue with numerous provincial politicians, and helped the Board advocate for our students and our community.”
NLPS was previously approved for funding for a consultant to work with all three local school jurisdictions to develop a solution that would address the overall educational infrastructure needs in the community.
“We are going to do everything we can to move this project along as quickly as we can,” said Packard. “The amount of work that has already been done with the community will be invaluable as we work through this design phase and move closer to having a new elementary school for public school students in Lac La Biche.”
The Vera M. Welsh project is currently the top priority in the NLPS Capital Plan.