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Banff Elementary School set to begin phase two of construction

The second phase to expand and rebuild Banff Elementary School will begin in less than two weeks time, according to Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) superintendent Chris MacPhee.

The second phase to expand and rebuild Banff Elementary School will begin in less than two weeks time, according to Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) superintendent Chris MacPhee.

The second phase will include an additional 13 classrooms, a library and a full-size gymnasium. Construction is slated to begin the week of Jan. 22 with the second – and final – phase completed by Feb. 28, 2018.

“As the superintendent and the board, we are extremely excited to finally have a replacement school being built in Banff, replacing three different modernizations that have happened over the last five decades,” said MacPhee.

“To be able to have that new facility and the type of programing that we will be able to offer to the community is something we’ve always wanted to do and we’re excited to showcase that once it’s finished.”

The second phase will cost roughly $14.5 million and is in addition to $8.4 million the province has already spent to complete phase one of the project, which was officially unveiled during a grand opening ceremony in September. Once phase two is complete the school will have a capacity for 550 students.

The Town of Banff has also contributed a total of $1.75 million to the overall budget for phase two of the project, including $961,909 for a larger gym.

“To get a gym built of that size and for the community to step up and put that kind of money in, when we never see other communities do that, it speaks to the type of partnership the community of Banff has with the school division,” said MacPhee.

The contribution will ensure the Town of Banff has exclusive use of the gym after 6 p.m. on weekdays and throughout weekends and help fill a demand left after the Banff Centre got rid of most of its gym space at the Sally Borden Building for a new weight room and yoga studio/flex space.

According to MacPhee, should a special school activity or event be planned on a weekend or evening, he said CRPS would be able to book the gymnasium, as long as reasonable notice is given.

Money for the gym is on top of $503,240 previously approved by council for the construction of two dedicated out of school care classrooms and another $286,000 for showers and gym storage.

According to MacPhee, the out of school program will allow parents who have to get to work early the opportunity to drop off kids before the school day begins.

Once phase two is complete, MacPhee said he expects staff and students to begin moving in during spring break in 2019 and the existing school to be demolished and converted into the school’s new green area by June 2019.

With phase one complete, CRPS has already incorporated Grade 7 into the elementary school and intends to move Grade 8 classes into the new facility in September 2018, even before phase two is complete because there are already enough classrooms available.

In turn, Banff Community High School will be converted to a Grade 9-12 facility, like Canmore Collegiate High School, allowing students to take courses at both schools.

“We’ll be able to match up schedules and offer a lot more opportunities and different courses for students within the valley,” said MacPhee, explaining students will be able to move freely between the two high schools to take different courses if their schedules don’t line up.

The Town of Banff issued a building permit for phase two in November following the successful completion of phase one, which included building 13 new classrooms, office space and a mechanical room. It also included the installation of 204 solar panels on its roof, large windows to allow more natural light and a new layout to optimize the flow of traffic within the building.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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