FAQs: Heritage Hills Elementary
(Last updated: March 18, 2019)
Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) is very excited about the construction of Heritage Hills Elementary, the Wye Elementary replacement school in Heritage Hills. Updates will be made to this page as new information becomes available and the project moves ahead.
How is a site for a new school selected?
- In planning municipal land use, Strathcona County sets aside specific parcels of land that are held in reserve for schools. When a school authority plans to build a new school facility, consultations are held with the County to choose the most appropriate location based on anticipated population growth, size of the school and access to utilities. The school authority examines all the information provided and then makes its decision.
Where will the replacement school be built?
The replacement school is being built in Heritage Hills Park, north of Heritage Drive, on the east side of the property.
Why are you building on the north side of Heritage Drive rather than on the south side?
- Of the two Heritage Hills sites, the northern most site was the preferred choice of both EIPS and Strathcona County. Both groups wanted to avoid cutting down treed areas and disturbing existing natural habitats. Maintaining the natural area within the community was identified as a priority by the County.
Why do we need another elementary school in the area? Doesn’t the new elementary school being built in Davidson Creek have enough room for all elementary-aged students in the area?
Wye Elementary is a replacement school project rather than a new school.
The northeast quadrant—where Davidson Creek Elementary is located—is also the fastest growing area in terms of population. There are many young families moving into the area, resulting in the need for a large number of elementary-level spots. We anticipate that this trend will continue over the next five to ten years.
Why couldn’t the replacement school be built closer to the site of the current school?
The current Wye Elementary school site is not connected to either county water or sewer (the school currently runs off both a septic and cistern system).
Alberta Infrastructure prefers that all new schools be built with connections to sewer and water lines—that wasn’t possible at the current location.
Why wasn’t the old school modernized (like Fultonvale) rather than relocated?
- When a modernization project is estimated to cost more than 75 per cent of a replacement facility, the project qualifies to become a replacement facility. Basically, it would cost more to modernize the old school than was financially feasible.
There is a larger parcel of school reserve land in Regency Park available. Why wasn’t that site selected?
- When selecting a location, we look at the size of the school we are building and align that with the size of the property available. The 15.51 acre site in Regency Park is far too large for this particular project and needs to be kept in reserve at this point in time.
What will happen to the ice rink, baseball diamond and playground currently on that land?
Because of the location of a pipeline on the west side of the parcel and the buffer zone, the school is being built on the east side of the property where these amenities were located. These amenities have been removed.
Additional information about Strathcona County’s plans for recreational amenities in the Heritage Hills area are available on the County website.
Will there be a new playground at the replacement school?
- Yes. EIPS has confirmed the new site for Wye Elementary is eligible for playground funding from the Government of Alberta. EIPS is still in the process of determining whether all/some of the existing playground at the current Wye Elementary site can be transported and reassembled.
How does having an elementary school in the neighbourhood impact property values?
- There are many factors that impact the value of homes in any given community. If you have specific questions about your own property, we encourage you to consult with a local real estate professional.
Will there be a lot more traffic in the area?
There will be more traffic in the morning and the afternoon (during drop-off/pick-up times), and there will be school buses moving through the area during those peak times as well. EIPS is required to complete a comprehensive traffic impact assessment that will provide insight into where the drop-off/pick-up area will be located on the property.
The traffic impact assessment was submitted to our colleagues at Strathcona County and approved. The recommendations from the County have been incorporated in to the traffic study for the school. Our goal is to ensure students are safe, and traffic can move through the area efficiently and with minimal disruption.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION:
When did EIPS break ground on the replacement school?
- The official groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the Wye Elementary replacement school took place on Aug. 29, 2018. Construction began shortly after.
When will the replacement school be completed and what will be the first day of school?
- We anticipate construction will be completed in spring 2020. We’re not yet sure if students will be in classes at the end of the 2019-20 school year or will move in September 2020.
How much will the replacement school cost?
- We estimate the project will cost approximately $20 million, which includes the addition of the solar technology system.
What will the new building look like? Will we have any input on the design?
EIPS hosted two information sessions in fall 2017 to gather input from the community on the preliminary site plan and school design options. The feedback gathered was provided to the architectural firm to assist with their planning.
Two additional information sessions took place in February 2018 at which attendees viewed the final site plan and school design.
What happens to the old school?
There is a process that EIPS must follow in terms of the disposition of schools that are closed. First, the Division considers whether or not it can still make use of the building.
If not, we would inform Alberta Education that the building is surplus, and Alberta Education may make the property available to other school divisions.
If there is no interest or need expressed by other school divisions, the building will likely be demolished and the land upon which the former school sits returned to the municipality (technically the "owner" of the land).
Will the name of the school be changed because it’s located in Heritage Hills?
Yes. Throughout the 2018-19 school year, EIPS sought input from families and the community regarding the potential renaming of the school. Following a series of online surveys, a new name was brought forward and approved by the Board of Trustees on March 14, 2019.
The replacement school name will be Heritage Hills Elementary. This name will take effect when the replacement school opens in 2020. The Wye Elementary school name will remain in place for the current building until that time.
What programs will be offered at Heritage Hills Elementary?
On Jan. 24, 2019, the Board of Trustees approved a motion to offer a dual-track English and French immersion program at the replacement school.
At that time, the Board also approved new elementary French immersion attendance boundaries to create a designated attendance area for Heritage Hills Elementary. These new boundaries will take effect when the replacement school opens its doors in 2020.
How many Wye Elementary students live in the Heritage Hills area?
- As of Sept. 30, 2018, there were 147 Wye Elementary students who resided in Heritage Hills, with 64 students in the area attending another EIPS school.
How many École Campbelltown students live in the area designated to Heritage Hills Elementary?
- As of December 2018, there were 113 K-4 École Campbelltown students who resided in the eastern section of Sherwood Park that will be designated to Heritage Hills Elementary for French immersion when the school opens (these students will be in grades 2-6 in the 2020-21 school year).
How many students can the replacement school hold?
- The new building will be able to accommodate 650 students.
How many students will attend the replacement school when it opens?
The actual number of students attending the replacement school may vary depending on the number of students registered, determination of attendance boundaries and any decisions made about grandfathering.
Who will be eligible to attend the replacement school? Will non-designated students be allowed?
On Jan. 24, 2019, the Board established specific French immersion boundaries that identify students who will be designated to the replacement school once it opens.
As the time approaches to open the new school in Heritage Hills, EIPS will look at both existing and anticipated enrolment levels. There may or may not be a need to amend the attendance boundaries—if they do need to be changed, public meetings will be held to gather input in that regard.
At this time, no specific decision has been made regarding grandfathering of English or French immersion students.
Will there be any changes to busing for students who will attend the replacement school?
- Students who live in Heritage Hills and were previously eligible for free busing because of their distance from the current Wye Elementary location, as well as current École Campbelltown students who are designated the replacement school, will be required to pay transportation fees if they live less than 2.4 km from the replacement school and would like to continue to access busing.
Will my child receive the same level of support (EAs, special programs) that he/she currently receives?
- Provision of supports for students is based upon need no matter which school the student attends.
Is there a transition plan in place for current Wye Elementary and École Campbelltown students/families?
As the opening of the new school draws closer, EIPS staff will put a transition plan in place for students who are designated to the replacement school.
The plan will include visits to the new school and meetings with students and parents about transportation, orientation and other important aspects of moving from one school to another. EIPS staff will be available to address concerns and make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone.
Will there be onsite daycare/after school care facilities like at the current Wye Elementary location?
- No, the Division does not receive funding for on-site childcare facilities. Strathcona County has a comprehensive listing of child care providers in Sherwood Park, however, if families wish to consider their options ahead of time.
What will happen to the current administration/staff from Wye Elementary and École Campbelltown when the school moves?
- As the new building is a replacement school, many Wye Elementary staff and some Ecole Campbelltown staff would move from their current locations to the new location. The actual number of staff members would depend on the number of students enrolled at the time.
What public engagement has taken place?
The Division held meetings in June 2017 to talk with students, families and residents about the replacement school.
Two information nights were hosted in fall 2017 for parents, staff and interested community members to provide input on the preliminary site plan and school design options. Two additional information sessions took place in February 2018 at which attendees viewed the final site plan and school design.
In late 2018 and early 2019, the Division conducted a series on online surveys to gather family and community input on a potential new name for the replacement school.
What public engagement is planned?
Additional opportunities for public engagement will take place throughout the process, as needed, and will be communicated to all stakeholders as we move forward.
We are collecting email addresses to send updates directly to interested stakeholders throughout the entire process.
Where can I find more information?
- Find out more: Regular updates, and past information, about the Wye replacement school in Sherwood Park.
Those who are interested can also sign up to receive updates and meeting notifications via email.