Good things are happening for Blackfalds.
This week the province announced that Blackfalds would be getting a new school. Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol said that she is ecstatic about the news.
“I’m excited and I’m happy and I’m ready to go.”
A new school has been a long time coming for Blackfalds, said Stol.
She added that Blackfalds has been on the capital plan for a new school for a number of years.
“So to have this one announcement come out, it’s great,” she said.
However, this is just the first step to meeting the educational requirement of Blackfalds, she added. For example, Stol said that the existing elementary school in Blackfalds has one portion section that was built in the 1940s and is in desperate need of modernization.
Stol said that plans to address Blackfalds’ educational needs will be needed on a continuing basis.
“We will celebrate this announcement but we as a community are committed to working with both the school board and the provincial government to make sure all of the education needs of Blackfalds are met,” said Stol.
Currently, there are two schools in Blackfalds. Iron Ridge Elementary accommodates Kindergarten to Grade 4 students while Iron Ridge Junior High accommodates Grades 5-9. Both these schools are at maximum capacity, she said.
High school students are bussed to Lacombe for schooling but parents of public school students may choose to send their children to Red Deer if they are willing to arrange their own transportation. Students wishing to attend Catholic school are also bussed to Red Deer.
Another school within the limits of Blackfalds will allow more students to get a local education, Stol said. She added that the school will be constructed at the end of Cottonwood Dr. which she said will hopefully alleviate some of Blackfalds’ local bussing concerns and thereby increase enrollment within Blackfalds.
“Education is something that the Redford government promised it would do well,” she said. She added that the government acknowledges that a local education is best both for students and communities.
“So to get that investment in a local school is great.”
She added again that the new school is a good first step, but Blackfalds will continue to work and press the government for meeting its other educational needs.
There are no dates yet for when construction of the new school will begin.