(Edmonton) – The provincial government has committed to building a new Edmonton Catholic school that is focused on Indigenous culture and language.
Ben Calf Robe School, a Catholic school for Indigenous students in northeast Edmonton, will get a new building, the Alberta government announced Monday, September 10.
Originally built in 1950, the school was approved in 2017 as a modernization project. After continued consultation with Edmonton Catholic Schools, students, families, and community leaders, government agreed to provide additional funds to make sure the entire facility is replaced and that it serves the needs of the community.
“Edmonton Catholic Schools have done an excellent job creating a positive, culturally supportive learning environment at Ben Calf Robe School,” stated Alberta Minister of Education David Eggen.
“Providing a brand new facility for the school will make sure the physical environment enhances that supportive structure provided by school staff and leadership.”
Replacement school facilities incorporate advanced systems and features such as large windows that provide natural lighting and ventilation systems that improve air quality and circulation, creating a healthy learning and working environment for students, teachers and others who use the schools.
“We are extremely pleased that the Government of Alberta heard the voices of the community and made this decision with the best interests of students in mind,” remarked Laura Thibert, Board Chair of Edmonton Catholic Schools. “The district will work closely with the Council of Elders and the school community as the project moves forward.”
The project will also include an additional funding contribution from Edmonton Catholic School District to build a dedicated cultural space in the school. This will serve not just students and staff, but families in the school community.
“I’m very grateful that our Indigenous people in Edmonton will be honoured with a state-of the-art school,” stated community Elder Betty Letendre.
“In the future, we will have a school that brings high academics along with the highest of culture and language, not only to our children but to all those who come to work and be a part of our school community.”
Ben Calf Robe will also be eligible for solar panel funding, which will reduce the school’s energy costs and contribute to Alberta’s commitment to help the environment. The new school is expected to increase the capacity of the school to serve 700 students. The current school has capacity for 478 students.