A new chapter of the story of Morrin school opened on Friday as the ground was broken for the new school.
Representatives from Morrin School, the Village, Starland County, Prairie Land Regional School Divison (PLSD), Friends of Morrin School Council (FMSC), contractors and Alberta Infrastructure gathered at Morrin School on Friday, June 17, to ceremonially start construction.
“On behalf of the Prairie Land Board of Trustees, I convey how excited we are to see this project begin. The positive impact this new school is going to have on our community, students and staff for years to come is going to be incredible,” said Trustee for Morrin Ken Macfarlane.
The go-ahead for the new school was announced in November of 2019 by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, and the project has come together quickly. It was not long after the announcement the FMSC was struck to fundraise for the project with the aim of making it a positive educational facility, but also a space for the entire community. They were successful.
“We have had quite the incredible journey over the last two years,” said FMSC President Julie Robison.
“Over two years ago, we decided we wanted to set a goal to raise $608,300 to increase the footprint of the new school. Not only have we met that goal, but we continued to exceed that, currently have raised $654,170.13.”
She noted they were able to raise these funds during a global pandemic, which prohibited in-person meetings, fundraising and events.
“What we knew about this community is we are really capable of amazing things. That the relationships, the connections, and the love that exists are what made this fundraising successful.
Through this fundraising, they were able to increase the footprint of the school by 1,668 square feet in total. The gymnasium space was increased by 23 percent, the library space by 50 per cent and the educational and community space by 65 per cent.
Prairie Land worked closely with Alberta Infrastructure, and the project came together. In October 2020, Group2 Architecture and Interior Design from Red Deer were announced as the prime consultants on the Morrin School build. Shunda Consulting and Construction Management Ltd from Red Deer was awarded the general contractor bid in late April 2022. It is the same builder as Delia School.
Principal Don Yavis is excited to see the project go ahead.
“Now you are going to have this big beautiful school that is going to be here for generations and generations of kids, and that’s the key,” said Yavis. “It is great for four communities, we draw from Morrin, Munson, Rumsey and Rowley, and the area south and all the farms around here. Hopefully when it is done, it is going to attract more students and increase our size.”
PLSD has seen great progress with its facilities with the remodel of Hanna School, and the opening of a new Delia School just last year. PLSD Superintendent, Cam McKeage, gives credit to the board and staff.
“It is the vision and the leadership of the trustees and the hard work of our staff. They want to make sure rural education is second to none and we don’t just want to replicate it, we want to innovate, and I think that is the mindset of people in Prairie Land. We want to celebrate rural, we want to make sure we are leading the way for the sake of our kids and the families in our communities.”