More land coming for new Okotoks schools

Posted by on Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 at 1:18pm.

It looks like Christ the Redeemer Catholic School District is going to get a new elementary school in Okotoks very soon.

Negotiations are in the works for available land for a new school.  The district has already established new school boundaries – now all they need is the land upon which to build.

Developers have recently purchased land from the municipality in the D’Arcy and Wedderburn areas and have published concept plans which have made provision for school sites.  The Wedderburn land on the north side of Okotoks is one of the last parcels of undeveloped land within town limits.

If the Town of Okotoks is in agreement and both Christ the Redeemer and the public sector Foothills School Division crunch the numbers in terms of student population projections, it should all be a go. United Communities, the developer of Wedderburn, has not yet determined the density for this area.  The amount of available land is the same as the community of Westmount which has capacity for 1,500 residential units and also has a school.  United Communities was also responsible for developing the Okotoks neighbourhoods of Crystal Ridge and Drake Landing.

The other portion of the Wedderburn lands is still under the jurisdiction of Foothills County.

During a recent open house at Okotoks Good Shepherd School, parents learned that separate school children residing in Mountainview and Sandstone communities will be designated to St. Francis of Assis Academy in Davisburg School, a K-Grade 9 facility scheduled to open in September 2016.  Also, Catholic students from the Okotoks community of Drake Landing will be sent to St. Mary’s School.  These changes were made to alleviate crowding at Good Shepherd School.  Most Catholic schools in Okotoks are full to the rafters, with no space available to attach portable classrooms.

The school district had proceeded with the construction of a new school in Davisburg, which is 17 kilometres north east of Okotoks, simply because land was available there and not in Okotoks. Christ the Redeemer School District has owned the land at Davisburg for the past 10 years. Foothills School Division has also placed a public school at Davisburg in the DeWinton district.  Davisburg is a 15-minute bus ride for students from Okotoks.

The Town of Okotoks will soon sign off on the purchase of 40 acres of Wedderburn land which is near Holy Trinity Academy.  On the west side of Wedderburn is a proposed public elementary/junior high school; however the Catholic board has expressed interest in acquiring that parcel instead.

With the land deal still not finalized, new schools are still a few years out.  The final decision rests with Alberta Education, the provincial body which determines the final location of a school and the construction timeline.

The Okotoks Air Ranch District could soon see a new Francophone school in its community.  The Southern Francophone Education Region, which operates Ecole Beausoleil, has received authorization to build a facility.  The land set aside for this French language school is too small for a full-size K-Grade 6 building.


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