What’s old will be new again at Indus School in the coming year.
The Rocky View County School Board has changed Indus from the list of new schools and instead has put the existing kindergarten to Grade 9 one on the maintenance list, which will fast track it for renovation.
The $5.9-million project was approved by the board and just needs to be rubber-stamped by the education minister, who will also need to approve portable units so that the students can be served in Indus for the 2018-19 school year.
This decision means that the existing structure will be gutted, except for the gym, and will be completely upgraded. It will be a new school on the inside, but have the same familiar look on the outside.
Ward 2 trustee Patty Sproule said the Indus School is in the greatest need for an upgrade in the district but it was a long ways from getting a replacement.
“There are so many new schools needed all the time that the old schools get left behind,” Sproule said. “It would be many, many years before it would come to the top to get replaced.
“Administration recommended using maintenance dollars to renovate it in a major way instead of building a new school. That’s a creative option that we appreciated them coming up with or else we wouldn’t have been able to do it.
“We have recommended it happen started in September of 2018, or perhaps during the summer, but it’s subject to the minister of education approving it. We’re awaiting that and it should come early in the new year.”
The board is hoping this gets approved early in the new year so that preparation work can begin immediately. There will be a public consultation and designs that need to be done, and then the renovation will take the entire school year as the facility is literally taken down to the studs.
“It’s very exciting for the community to be getting virtually a brand new school,” Sproule said. “The only downside is the kids will be housed in portable and will have to go outside in order to get to the gym.
“That’s not a big deal. It doesn’t bother kids at all. There will be washroom portables as well, along with a music room portable along with the classrooms. It’s a good plan. The other thing is we have for ministerial approval for the portables. We need that and must have enough of them in order to make this work.”
Indus School was built in 1951 with additions in 1964, ’71, ’78, ’79 and ’99, but the exterior brick as well as the foundation and roof all remain in good condition. There are a few other schools in the district built around the same time, but it simply doesn’t work anymore for the 210 students currently attending it.
“That’s why it’s getting the most attention,” Sproule said. “It will be the familiar exterior the community is used to. It’s a brick exterior for the most part and that stands up to the test of time.
“It’s a nice little school. It has a cozy feel to it because it isn’t huge. It really is showing the signs of age mechanically.
“It’s high time for this to be done.”