Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 1, 2003
Hinton learns in stand alone spaces
Community pressure vetoes shared facilities proposals
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"The fear among parents and the Catholic community was that a shared-use facility would have led to the demise of the Catholic school system within the province."
- Tim Zraski
Three months later, the Living Waters Catholic School Board withdrew its support for the project, effectively killing it.
In response, Alberta Learning and Alberta Infrastructure decided in April to transfer the underused Roche Miette Public School to the Living Waters Catholic Division to solve this district's overcrowding problem in town. The province also transferred Jubilee Junior High in Edson to Living Waters.
"Given the declining enrollment in these public schools and the immediate need for additional Catholic schools in these communities, the transfer just makes sense," Learning Minister Lyle Oberg declared at the time.
"While this decision is not the one we had hoped for, it is one that we believe we can work with and it provides our students with more than adequate space," Living Waters board chair Camile Joly said in a message to the Hinton community. The Living Waters board originally wanted a new stand-alone school, but the province made it clear it would not fund a new school while there is unutilized space in the public system.
The 11-classroom Roche Miette School was officially transferred to Catholic hands Aug. 1 and has been renamed St. Gregory Catholic Elementary. Some 240 students from kindergarten to Grade 4 are currently registered in it. Several dozen volunteers from groups including the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women's League painted the school in preparation for the new school year, said principal Tim Zraski.
He believes the transfer of Roche Miette to the Catholic system was a better solution to overcrowding than building a shared facility for both public and Catholic students in town.
"The fear among parents and the Catholic community was that a shared-use facility would have led to the demise of the Catholic school system within the province," Zraski said. "I do believe that the type of facility they were promoting in Hinton would have been the first step in that direction."
St. Gregory will be blessed by Archbishop Thomas Collins Sept. 24 at 1 p.m.
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