With kids back in class and people thinking about school again, The Langdon Community Association is renewing its calls to get a high school built in the community.
“Langdon needs its own high school because we are a very fast growing community, we have gotten to the point where we’re over 5000 people and in Alberta there’s only two communities that have over 5000 people that don’t have a senior high school, and Langdon is one of them,” said Langdon Community Association (LCA) Chair Chrissy Craig.
Craig organized a rally on Sept. 23 to restart the campaign for a Langdon high school after the provincial budget in March failed to approve the school.
She said she paused through the summer because, “Nobody thinks about schools in July,” she said.
When the Langdon school wasn’t approved, Craig said that there was an uproar in the community with lots of people writing letters to the Provincial government.
“Our MLA and our school division sent them off,” she said.
She hopes to draw on that fervor from last spring to again put pressure on the government to approve the new high school.
Craig said that the need for the school is apparent in the community.
“Not only do we have the need with the amount of children we have we also have the growth happening,” she said.
According to Craig, Langdon has grown 20 per cent in the last five years. Thirty per cent of the children in the community are between the ages of five and 15.
With the large number of pre-high school kids, Craig said the need is only going to increase the longer it takes to get a Langdon High School built.
Currently, students from Langdon attend Chestermere High School.
“The current high school they go to is an older high school,” she said, “it does very well but it’s over crowded.”
Adding to the pressure is the fact that not only is Langdon growing, Chestermere is too.
“As of this year the high school is over 90 per cent capacity,” said Craig, “as of next year it will be 101 per cent capacity and you give that a few more years we’re looking at 120 per cent capacity for our children.”
Given the obvious need for another high school, Craig is uncertain why it was not approved with the budget last March.
“Alberta education had four…main things that they look at for schools when they’re deciding which ones they’re going to approve and Langdon hits every single one of them,” said Craig.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have been approved,” she said.
Craig said that despite asking, she has not yet received an answer from the government as to why the decision not to approve the school was made.
“What were we missing, why didn’t we get approved,” she said.
Craig said that she sent a request in February to the Education Minister to ask for a meeting and didn’t receive a response.
She has sent a new request but said so far she still hasn’t heard anything back.
“The land is ready, it has services it has a road, it has a parking lot,” she said.
“It is ready…they could start tomorrow and build a high school,” said Craig.
She said that the Rocky View School Board and the county have invested more than $7.6 million into preparing the site for the new high school and recreation centre.
“The site is ready, and the need is here,” she said.
Adding to the frustration in the community is the fact that the high school needs to be built before they can start on the recreation centre that is set to share the site.
“We need the approval of the high school for the rec centre because when that happens the rec centre and the high school can share costs,” said Craig.
Craig is the LCA representative with North Bow who are working on the recreation centre.
She said that their vision is to create a joint high school and recreation centre.
“We’ve been working for years, and working together with Rocky View Schools,” she said.
With the planned joint facility, Craig said that some spaces would be shared by both the high school and the recreation centre.
“So some of the facilities would be shared such as the commercial kitchen…some of the gymnasiums, some of the common areas libraries, that sort of stuff,” she said.
“You could have adults learning in the rec centre while the children are learning in the high school or you can have the youth volunteering with the seniors during the day during the programs.
“So, it’s more of a combination of a forward thinking role of the community and the education system working together,” she said.
Both projects are needed in the community said Craig.
With a daughter in Grade 5, Craig said that she has a dual interest in getting both the school and recreation centre built.
“This is an issue that goes right to my heart,” she said.
“I have a daughter who is in grade 5 and if this high school isn’t built she will have to go down the dangerous highway to Chestermere High when it will be at 130 per cent capacity,” she said.
In addition to the rally, Craig said that they are continuing the letter writing campaign.
“We’re also going to get the youth involved by getting them involved doing some social media and making things go viral,” she said.
Craig said that they will also be taking a bus load of residents up to Edmonton in November to sit in the legislature while local MLA Leela Aheer addresses the issue.
“We’re going to keep writing the letters, keep having the rallies and just keep at it,” said Craig.