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HomeNewsNo decision finalized for St Patrick, O'Brien Lake West students

No decision finalized for St Patrick, O’Brien Lake West students

The Grande Prairie Catholic School Division plans to have shovels in the ground to begin construction on the replacement for St. Patrick Catholic School, as well as the new O’Brien Lake West Catholic School in the new year. Board Chair Michael Ouellette says, particularly with the new O’Brien Lake school, the process to get the build started is taking longer than originally projected.

“I wouldn’t use the word ‘delayed’, it’s just the whole process is taking longer right now. Everything is a go with that school, it’s just a little slower than what we really want. We’re still dealing with the rebuild of the Saint Patrick School. At this time we’re just waiting for the demolition of the school.”

Ground broke on the 85,000 square foot school in the O’Brien Lake West neighbourhood in August 2019. The school has a capacity of 900 students from kindergarten to grade nine.

St. Patrick Catholic School has been closed since 2017 after a mould issue was discovered in the school. The decision to build its replacement on the current site was made earlier this year, after it was discovered that planned modernization work on the school had to be cancelled due to the province rejecting the tenders for the project for being over budget.

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Ouellette says the board previously met both with Alberta Finance Minister and Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Travis Toews, as well as Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs and Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard, and confirmed both projects to be “moving forward”. He adds the process for setting up the new schools also still requires the board to decide which students will fill them.

“We have to decide as a board what we’re going to put into that new [Saint Patrick] school. We look at the population, the populations of some of our other schools, and we have to decide what’s best for the long term of Saint Patrick’s. The board is going to make a decision on that probably in the new year, on exactly what is going into Saint Patrick’s, whether it’ll be K-8, [or 9-12], just depending on what the stats show us about the area.”

Ouellette adds the decision will be based on statistics gathered from the growing population within the zone the school is designed to accommodate.

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