Dignitaries, students, school board members, and parents gathered this morning (May 27, 2022) to celebrate the ground breaking of the new high school in Blackfalds. A group of students from the Iron Ridge Junior Campus had they honour of unveiling the new name for the school: Iron Ridge Secondary Campus.
“The history behind it is that Blackfalds used to be the main railroad hub in Alberta. So, iron was chosen to recognize the significant contribution to Blackfalds at that time. Ridge was chosen to represent the landscape and that Blackfalds is on a ridge type of formation,” said Tim De Ruyck, Superintendent of Wolf Creek Public Schools.
“To have the very first High School right here in Blackfalds. It's huge. Students won't have to travel outside of their own community to go to high school. I know this is something that has been advocated for a very long time. I'm so thrilled that it has finally risen to the top of the capital list not only for Wolf Creek School division, but also for the government,” said Education Minister for Government of Alberta, Adrianna LaGrange.
The new high school will be located on 5000 Leung Road in Blackfalds which is right beside the existing Iron Ridge Junior Campus and near the Abbey Builders Centre. The two schools close location may allow for the students of Iron Ridge Junior Campus to use some of the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) classrooms in the future. Superintendent of Wolf Creek Public Schools, Tim De Ruyck says the location will offer plenty of opportunity.
“It's a great location and we have the space for future development. I know the town has talked about outdoor facilities like a track, maybe eventually that kind of thing. So, it’s a perfect spot,” said De Ruyck.
De Ruyck noted that it is not often that new High Schools are built as they tend to be more expensive than elementary schools; however, the evidence is clear the high school will be well utilized in Blackfalds.
“The high school came to fruition, really, through consultation between the board and the town, and Alberta education in terms of what would be a logical next step. As we know, when you look at the census data for this community, even going back ten years the trajectory has been on a sharp incline for some time,” added De Ruyck.
Wolf Creek Public Schools continues to consult the public on grade configuration for both Iron Ridge Junior Campus and the new Iron Ridge Secondary Campus. The new school will have a capacity for 950 students. Students who live in Blackfalds may be graduating from the new High School as early as 2024.
“Our understanding is that they're supposed to start work and put up a fence on June 6th and then we should start seeing some action. The intent is for the school to open September of 2024. Two years from this coming September,” added De Ruyck.