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Peace Wapiti Public School Division
Educating today for success tomorrow
Peace Wapiti Public School Division No. 76
News Item

Work at schools in Teepee Creek, Clairmont and Sexsmith well underway –

March 18, 2015

Board awaits further announcement on new Whispering Ridge School start date

Improvements to Peace Wapiti Academy’s façade, along with a roof replacement and landscaping work have wrapped up, but there’s still plenty of construction activity happening around Peace Wapiti Public School Division as a number of schools receive much-needed improvements. At Teepee Creek School, a modernization project is reaching the midway point, and the addition of two new modular classrooms and a link at Clairmont Community School is nearing completion. In Sexsmith, the replacement Robert W. Zahara Public School began to take shape when steel workers arrived on site earlier this month.

In preparation for the arrival of two new modular classrooms at Teepee Creek School, extensive ground work was completed this past summer, along with the addition of a hallway link. The modular classrooms, added to the north end of the school, created a new space for junior high students. Attention has now turned to converting the school’s office into a community kitchen, along with renovations to the washroom facilities, gymnasium and existing classroom spaces. Students will occupy classrooms on a rotational basis to ensure renovations are completed in a safe and efficient manner. A new administrative office will be added to the south end of the school, offering improved sightlines for supervision of students.

At Clairmont Community School, work on the installation of two modular classrooms and the adjoining link structure is nearing completion. Optimistic plans would see the new addition in use before the end of the current school year, but unpredictable spring weather and frost conditions could play a factor in achieving the Board’s goal.

Pre-construction site work on the replacement Robert W. Zahara Public School in Sexsmith began in September, 2014. An opening is expected in September, 2016. The striking façade, which includes a curved wall of windows, will house the school’s library. The plans include an oversize gymnasium and large music room. Removal of the current building will make way for a dedicated 11-stall bus parking lot and a separate guest and staff parking lot. The new building’s capacity will be suited to 550 students, with a build-out to accommodate 650 students.

This past October, the province announced a new Kindergarten-Grade 8 school for Whispering Ridge subdivision, located north of Grande Prairie. While some funding has been received for a consultant, geotechnical study, and a Phase 1 environmental assessment, PWSD’s Board is awaiting a further announcement on the construction start date. When it opens, the new school will serve residents of Whispering Ridge and Westlake Village subdivisions who currently fall within Harry Balfour School’s attendance boundaries.

“The Board is pleased that the Prentice government has honoured the past leadership’s promise to replace the school in Sexsmith. We look forward to a further announcement on the start date of the new Whispering Ridge School,” says Superintendent Sheldon Rowe.

With the Whispering Ridge School announcement, the government also approved three modular classrooms for Harry Balfour School in Grande Prairie as a means of dealing with explosive student population growth at the start of the current school year. The structures have been built and are sitting in storage, with construction work expected to begin in late April, pending frost conditions. The new classrooms are anticipated to be open for the start of the upcoming school year.

While the modernization of Teepee Creek School and the replacement Robert W. Zahara Public School were included in announcements made by the Government of Alberta in 2013, the work at Clairmont Community School was a Board-funded project.

Superintendent Sheldon Rowe says, “It is noteworthy that the modernization work at Teepee Creek School, a Board-managed project, is nearing completion less than one year after initial ground work began at the site.”

As part of its three-year plan, the PWSD Board has identified a need for government funding for an additional K-8 school, located south of Grande Prairie which, along with the new Whispering Ridge School, would create the space necessary to serve the existing attendance area of Harry Balfour School – an aging facility that opened its doors in 1956.

Photo Captions:
- Peace Wapiti Academy in Grande Prairie received improvements to its façade, a roof replacement and landscaping.
- Modular classrooms were craned into place at Teepee Creek School on October 2, 2014.
- Two modular classrooms were delivered to Clairmont Community School on January 14, 2015.
- The replacement Robert W. Zahara Public School in Sexsmith is starting to take shape and will include a striking façade.