News | DrumhellerMail - Page #3256
Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2024 12pm

DCHS stem cell drive huge success


    Drumheller Composite High School (DCHS) students had a very ambitious target: to get 400 people to come to the school and have their cheek swabbed for a stem cell donation on Wednesday, June 23 within a four-hour period.
    The idea of the stem cell drive came from Mrs. Dart. When DCHS students found out the rare blood disease she had suffered from had come back, they asked how they could help. As a stem cell transplant had saved her life in June 2007, Mrs. Dart suggested this drive and felt a target of 100 would be reasonable.
    Mr. LaPierre and the students decided that 400 was the target they should aim for.
    And they are nearly there!
    At the time of going to press, Hailu Mulatu, coordinator for the drive from OneMatch Canadian Blood Services, told inSide Drumheller they had 309 people attending the drive and 63 had registered online.
    “The Drumheller community has shown these patients [on the registry awaiting donors] very huge support and they have given a very clear indication how caring the community is,” said Mulatu.
    “On behalf of the Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network and the patients we serve, I would like to thank and express my gratitude to the community of Drumheller.”
    Mrs. Dart told inSide Drumheller, “I am excited, but I am determined to reach 400. I am not stopping until we reach our target!”
    “I really didn’t have any doubt,” said Mr LaPierre about reaching their target. “The 400 number came from me and talking with the Grade 7 team who were volunteering here. And I said, ‘You know, this sounds like a good number, and it may not be possible, but at the same token, I think it is. If everybody does their little part, it happens very easily.’ And sure enough, this is exactly what happened.”
    People who were not able to attend the drive can still register online. To keep track of the numbers, Mrs. Dart is asking for people to let her know when they register online by emailing her at
    To register online, visit

LaPierre to head DCHS next September


    Golden Hills School Division didn’t have to look too far to find a person to head up Drumheller Composite High School (DCHS) for the next coming school year.
 Recently Tom Zariski announced he would be retiring as principal of DCHS. Last week associate principal Curtis LaPierre got the nod from the school division to be interim principal for the upcoming school year. He is excited about the possibilities.
    “It is going to be a change… It brings new challenges and opportunities,” said LaPierre.
    He was appointed principal for the next school year because there was not enough time for a proper competition for the position to take place. He will serve next year, and then he plans to apply for the permanent position.
    LaPierre has been at DCHS for 21 years. It was his first teaching position.
    Originally from Ontario, he started his working life as a chef, and made his way out west. He worked in some high-end kitchens including at the Banff Springs Hotel, before he attended the University of Calgary to earn his teaching degree. When the Drumheller opportunity came up, he jumped on it. He has now been in administration for eight years and has earned his Masters in Administrative Leadership.
    He has raised his family in the valley and established the Drumheller Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido School. His familiarity will help in his new position.
    “I already know the school and the community, I have an established relationship and I am familiar with the international program,” he said.
    One thing he is looking forward to is being at the helm of the newly renovated DCHS. He says construction is on schedule and the school will be making the move over the Christmas break so the second semester will be at the new school.
    “The opportunity to be principal of that school is really something,” he said.
    After 21 years at the school, he is excited about continuing in his new role.
    “I like the kids, the human interaction and colleagues,” he said. “Everyday is different when you come through the door, there are surprising treats and joys.”

Badlands Community Facility tender awarded for $14,035,200, facility manager sought

    Under budget and ahead of schedule.
    These are not words you hear often in the construction industry, but this is what you would have heard at Council meeting on Monday.
    The tender for the Badlands Community Facility was  awarded to Calgary based Dawson Wallace Construction Ltd., the lowest bidder, for $14,035,200 exclusive of GST, bringing the total project cost to $21,221,786.40, over $1.7m under budget.
    The firm’s base bid of $13,725,000, reviewed by Graham Edmunds Carter (GEC) Architecture, will allow for separate priced items to be included such as a dasher board system at $87,000, gym divider curtains at $40,000, floor anchors to the fieldhouse floor at $7,200, one operable wall in the banquet room at $146,000 and a separate price for access control system at $30,000.    
    “The day that the bids came in, it was almost hard to believe when they said the first one and it was in the $14m mark and as they continued on...and one came in at less, the one we have now, I was amazed, just shocked,” said Mayor Bryce Nimmo on the tenders coming in at lower than expected.
    GEC will continue their review of the bid as it included a number of alternate prices for costs savings, to determine the impact of the possible savings on the quality of building.
    Work is due to start shortly with a planned completion date by the end of June 2011. Allowing 90 days for equipment and furnishing to be moved in, it is expected the building will be ready for occupancy in September/October 2011.
    As well as awarding the contract, Council also gave direction to administration to recruit a facility manager for the Badlands Community Facility.
    The successful candidate should have a strong background in hospitality, marketing and recreation management as part of the role will be to oversee the day to day programming, scheduling and marketing of the facility. 
    Administration recommended the individual be recruited within the next three to four months to ensure adequate pre-planning and early development of sales and community networks related to the facility.
    With the tender for the main construction work awarded, and a facility manager being sought, Mayor Nimmo said they can now concentrate fully on the second phase of the project.    
    “As you know, we are fundraising for the second phase, the fact that this has come in like this, we’ve got to continue to work as diligently as we can on looking for grants, anything that we can. If there is any way we can continue getting better bids like this, the sooner we can get at it, the better.”


The Drumheller Mail encourages commenting on our stories but due to our harassment policy we must remove any comments that are offensive, or don’t meet the guidelines of our commenting policy.