School demolition under way

Now that the Eldorado Elementary School has been completely demolished, crews have started work on tearing down the old H.W. Pickup Junior High School.

“You can see that they’re starting to take down the building,” says Brad Volkman, the superintendent for the Wild Rose School Division.

Because H.W. Pickup was built on municipal reserve land Volkman says the land will not be going up for sale once the work crews are done. Once the demolition is completed, the property will automatically go back to the Town.

“We don’t take any money for that,” says Volkman. “They just get it back.”

There have been a few instances of vandalism at the old schools, and Volkman says it’s always a safety concern if there is an abandoned building. The division also had to spend money doing what they could to repair damages, such as boarding up windows that had been broken.

“We’re glad to see it coming down,” he says. “We don’t want to see people getting injured or defacing the building.”

Volkman says staff in the division had the opportunity to go through the schools and take any items they wanted out of them. Anything that was left behind became the property of the demolition company.

However, Volkman says the playgrounds on both school sites aren’t being completely destroyed. The plan is to have as much of the equipment moved to the new school as they can safely do. He says they will be moved over the summer.

“Most of the one on the Eldorado property will be going to the Powerhouse Campus. One particularly piece will be going to Evergreen,” he says.

In addition to the playgrounds that are being moved over, Volkman says they still have a $250,000 grant from the province to spend on new playground equipment for the campus. He says that the school council also plans to raise funds to help with the new playground.

The school division owned the land where Eldorado was located. Now that the school is down, WRSD has received permission from the Minister of Education to sell that land, with the right of first refusal going to the Town.

Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Drayton Valley and District Free Press