By Nikki Jamieson on March 19, 2021.
Design funding has been announced for modernizing a school in Milk River.
On March 10, the province announced $268 million for school construction across the province, including funding five modernizations or additions, two school replacement projects and a school ownership solution.
This year, funding was announced for schools in Airdrie, Calgary, Camrose, Coaldale, Edmonton, Evansburg, Fort Vermilion, Lethbridge, Manning, Milk River, Red Deer and Sherwood Park. With this funding, design work can begin on modernizing Milk River School.
“Alberta’s government understands the importance of high-quality education infrastructure and the positive difference it can make for rural communities like ours. I’m proud to support these Budget 2021 investments that will support students, families and growth in Milk River and Coaldale,” said Grant Hunter, MLA for Taber-Warner.
“Our government is planning for the future by continuing to build schools. New and modernized schools create better learning environments for our students and are an important part of their overall education. I am proud to add 14 new projects this year with dozens of other projects progressing all across the province,” said Adriana LaGrange, minister of Education for the province.
The Board of Trustees of the Horizon School Division was pleased with the funding announcement, and that the government approved the board’s top priority in the board’s three-year Capital Plan.
The modernized school will replace Milk River Elementary School and Erle Rivers High School and allow the learning community to come together under one roof at the site of the elementary school.
“On behalf of our current and future students, we thank Minister LaGrange and Alberta Education for this announcement and for investing in our students’ future. (March 10’s) announcement is an exciting time for the families whose children attend school in Milk River. The division looks forward to commencing planning and the collaborate work that will move this project to completion and ultimately provide new dynamic learning spaces that support the learning needs of our students,” said Marie Logan, board chair for HSD.
Milk River Mayor Mayor Peggy Losey called it an “exciting opportunity” for the town.
Noting she went to both schools herself, Losey said while she loved the high school and it is a “great old building,” the cost to run the building with utilities was very high.
According to the school’s website, the Milk River School’s bell was first rung in January 1910, and it was renamed Erle Rivers High School in 1964.
“We’re very appreciative about it,” said Losey, on the announcement. “Just having everything closer together would be a good thing for the kids.”
Losey said in addition to combining the two schools, there may be some community elements in the modernized building as well, such as allowing the community to use the gym facilities after hours or combining the libraries.
“All of that stuff is very, sort of current and Horizon School Division is certainly willing to talk about it. I think it’s going to be very exciting for the community. I think it will be a good positive thing for us.”