More school space ahead

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The new school year is bringing small relief to the space crunch in Okotoks schools where libraries and staff rooms have been turned into teaching spaces.

The opening of the new St. Francis of Assisi Academy in Davisburg will bring Catholic education for Kindergarten to Grade 7 students to families in the northern part of the MD of Foothills, and it will take pressure off of Good Shepherd School, one of Okotoks’ busiest schools. The K-Grade 6 Good Shepherd has gone from about 970 students last year to an estimated 840 for 2016-‘17. Kindergarten has also returned to the school after two years at Holy Trinity Academy.

It’s small step, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Further improvement will come as modernization of the Foothills Composite High School is underway and construction set to begin on a new K-Grade 9 school for the Foothills School Division near Holy Trinity Academy on the town’s north boundary.

It will be a tight squeeze for high school students at the Comp, but it will be well worth it once the modernization is complete.

Meanwhile, the announced new public school will address the most pressing need for space in the elementary and junior high school levels.

The long-term solution will require land and water.

The real source of the school space crunch has been the lack of sites for new schools.

Development plans for the D’Arcy Ranch lands include a site with room for two schools.

Annexation will help further by opening up land for new homes and schools and a water pipeline will allow development to proceed.

There’s still a lot of work left to do to address the space crunch, but the road to making space for Okotoks students to learn is much clearer than it once was.

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