Peace Wapiti applies for more classrooms for Beaverlodge, Whispering Ridge

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Peace Wapiti School Division (PWSD) is applying to Alberta Education for funding for 10 new modular classrooms, including four to replace aging units at Beaverlodge Elementary School.

Another four would support the growth of Whispering Ridge Community School and two would go to Peace Wapiti Academy.

“The modulars at Beaverlodge Elementary School have turned 40 this year and are getting old,” said Darren Young, PWSD deputy superintendent.

Alberta Education takes requests for modular classrooms annually and with the deadline having been Nov. 1, the PWSD board voted to apply during its meeting last week.

PWSD is making the requests for the 2021-22 school year.

Modular classrooms are attached to existing school facilities, and from the inside largely appear to be regular classrooms, Young said.

“The whole intent behind having modular classrooms is having the ability to add and take away as needed, as enrollment goes up in certain schools,” he said.

If Alberta Education approves the requests, the provincial government would cover all costs, he said.

With BES, he said the decision to apply for replacing all four current modular classrooms relates solely to the age, as opposed to enrollment.

PWSD follows a maintenance schedule to ensure facilities are in shape, and the replacement would be proactive to prevent further deterioration, Young said.

In contrast, PWSD is seeking four new modular classrooms at Whispering Ridge because of enrollment growth.

A school is considered fully utilized and in need of additional space when it reaches 85 per cent capacity, according to PWSD.

WRCS opened in September 2018 with 460 students from playschool to Grade 8.

Angela Sears, PWSD communications officer, told the News this summer approximately 600 students registered at WRCS this year.

“The growth there has been astonishing, to say the least, so we’re looking to add more modulars there to create more classroom space for kids,” Young said.

WRCS already has approximately nine modular classrooms, with Young saying schools now open with modular classrooms.

One of WRCS’ modular classrooms was provided by the County of Grande Prairie for the playschool program, he noted.

PWSD is also applying for two at PWA based on projections it will reach full 100 per cent utilization in 2022.

Young said PWSD typically learns in January or February if its requests have been approved.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News