Alberta Infrastructure Minister Ric McIver delivered the news Monday that Fort Macleod has been anticipating for years.
The province will fund the modernization of F.P. Walshe and W.A. Day schools, with work to be finished by 2016.
“These modernizations will include exterior and interior upgrades and modifications to ensure students and staff have top notch learning facilities that they deserve,” McIver said.
McIver made the announcement during an assembly Monday afternoon at F.P. Walshe school.
“This is a community effort coming to this decision, and we will work together,” McIver said. “This much I know, whenever you‘re doing construction there is going to be inconvenience to people along the way.
“We’ll work with your principal, your teacher, your school board and parents to make sure that is at a minimum,” McIver said. “We really look forward to making Fort Macleod a better place to go to school.”
Livingstone Range School Board chair Martha Ratcliff, who is from Fort Macleod, said the announcement is good news.
“Hope, optimism, modernizing two great schools that the community will be proud of,” Ratcliff said of what the news means for Fort Macleod. “State of the art schools that will serve our children for many years to come.”
The budget will not be announced until the projects have gone to tender.
The plan submitted by Livingstone Range School Division is to renovate W.A. Day school to house Kindergarten to Grade 5.
F.P. Walshe school will be modernized to house Grade 6-12 students.
The division also plans to close G.R. Davis school as a result of declining enrollment in Fort Macleod.
G.R. Davis will remain open while the modernization projects are under way, likely to house students from the other schools.
Ratcliff said work will likely start first on F.P. Walshe.
Livingstone Range will host a meeting Saturday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. at G.R. Davis school.
“We want to get input from the public with respect to programming,” Ratcliff said. “Programming needs could change what schools look like on the inside.”
F.P. Walshe principal Bill Forster welcomed the new.
“This is a very exciting time,” Forster said. “It really comes at a great time not only for Fort Macleod but for education. We have a great opportunity here.”
Forster said the modernization projects fit well with curriculum redesign that is under way.
“We really do see this as a great opportunity and great timing,” Forster said.
F.P. Walshe school Grade 9 students Andie Curran and Billy Potts thanked McIver and the government for investing in the Fort Macleod schools.