The first students to attend the new Catholic high school in Grande Prairie can officially call it home as of the end of January. Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools says the move in date for St. John Paul II Junior-Senior High School will be January 29, 2018.
Construction crews are finishing up the Arbour Hills building, with the installation of the gym’s hardwood floor starting November 16th. The facility also includes a chapel and commercial cooking facility, and IT staff are already setting up features like Smart Boards.
There are also future plans for more specialty rooms like a 350 seat performing arts theatre and other drama and media spaces, and labs for construction, cosmetology and and welding classes. In a letter to parents, PE Coordinator Shamus Campbell explains they’ll also be putting a spotlight on athletics with a large gym with two floors for spectators.
“Our first couple of years at the new school will be focussed [sic] on building a strong athletic base for our students. Our combined efforts with the Celtic Sports Academy will be an important aspect of any programs we build in the future.”
The school will have a French Immersion wing, as the program is being phased out of St. Joseph Catholic School over the next three years. It includes a large gathering area, is connected to the theatre and is next to an outdoor classroom.
There were delays in tendering the building, so the original opening date of September 2017 was pushed back to 2018. The students going into grades 8 and 9 in 2017 from St. Gerard, Holy Cross, St. Clement and the northern boundary of Mother Teresa have been temporarily attending St. Catherine School in anticipation of St. John Paul II’s opening.
Those 250 students will move in January, with another grade added each year. The last French Immersion graduating class at St. Joe’s will be the students that are currently attending grade 9 at St. Joe’s for the 2016/2017 school year.