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Modernization project announced for BES

Banff Elementary School will see major modernization with the announcement of a multi-million dollar project by the provincial government on Wednesday (Jan. 29).

Banff Elementary School will see major modernization with the announcement of a multi-million dollar project by the provincial government on Wednesday (Jan. 29).

Banff-Cochrane MLA Ron Casey was on hand at the school to tell students they can expect a major upgrade that will contribute to building community.

“As part of the premier’s commitment to modernizing schools and building infrastructure for schools right across the province, I am happy to announce today that modernization for the Banff Elementary School is going to go ahead,” Casey said. “Future generations of Banff children are going to be able enjoy a brand new modernized facility and hopefully we will see another 50 years out of that great structure.”

BES was built in 1957 – 57 years ago – and has seen two renovations, one in 1979 and another in 1992. Chris MacPhee, superintendent for Canadian Rockies Public Schools, said over the past 20 years there has been very little work done and the district is noticing a number of areas that are in disrepair and time to address.

“It was recognized early on by the province this is one of their highest priorities,” MacPhee said. “We are excited. This is a large project and we are as well going to look at partnerships with the Town and The Banff Centre at opportunities to expand this project if they exist.”

Banff Community High School saw a major renovation 20 years ago that added another 40-50 years to its lifespan and it has also achieved LEEDS certification. MacPhee said the goal with BES is the same.

CRPS board chair Carol Picard said the capital project is definitely the No. 1 priority in this area. She said by modernizing the school it will improve how it operates in terms of utilities and that spells a cost savings for the district.

“There’s all the inefficiencies that go with being outdated,” Picard said. “Your utility costs, your heating, your electricity, it is cumulative. This is a long time coming and we have been waiting for this.”

While decreasing enrollment has plagued CRPS over the past decade, Picard said BES is the right size for community needs.

“Banff Elementary School is actually right sized; it is not over flowing and it is not empty – it is just an old, tired building that needs to be brought up to speed.”

The project will provide mechanical, electrical and exterior upgrades, as well as modified interior areas to meet educational programming needs and/or make better use of space.

The modernization is one of 120 announced last spring by Premier Alison Redford. It is part of $1.4 billion over three years being invested in school infrastructure across the province.

“This project reinforces our commitment to investing in Alberta’s families and communities. We are making certain that students and communities, today and long into the future, have the world-class school facilities they need to learn and be successful,” Redford said in a press release.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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