Parents in the southwest part of Grande Prairie may soon have another school to send their children to. Members of City council have recommended adding a school site to the Kensington Park development near 116 Street. Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools Superintendent Karl Germann says another Catholic school was needed to keep up with demand.
“When we had a look at the student population that’s expected to be in the area, we sent a request into the city wanting to make sure we had a school site in that area as well… I know our partner board Grande Prairie Public was also interested in it because we both have healthy populations that would require the use of additional school sites in the area.”
Mayor Bill Given says this plan has been in the works for about a year after the city received a request for new school sites from both the public and Catholic school divisions. During the meeting, only one school site was recommended and Given says they have not decided which district it will go to.
“The committee chose not to be specific about which school district it was for. The intent here is to find an appropriate balance between meeting the needs of the school districts for schools which are a great benefit to our community and find a way to meet the parks and open public space demands that we have to build great neighbourhoods. That’s obviously going to be a discussion between the city, the school districts and potentially the county of Grande Prairie.”
The Catholic school division also recently started work on a 900-student school in the O’Brien Lake West neighbourhood. Because that school will be for French Immersion students, the division requested that this additional site be used for a 650 student school.
Germann says the next step in the process is to work together with the city and public division in order to see what compromises could be made including seeing if two new schools could be built in one building. The Peace Wapiti Public School Division which was also looking for a site was recently given the green light for a new K-8 school located next to Five Mile Hall on Township Road 714.
If the Catholic division is given the land, Germann says he would like to see a school on the site in the next three to five years because all the division’s current schools in that area are full.