FAQs: Wye Elementary School Replacement
(Last updated: Feb. 12, 2018)
Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) is very excited about the funding recently announced for a replacement school in Heritage Hills. We know that you already have some questions and we want to address those immediately. 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 will be built in Heritage Hills Park, north of Heritage Drive. We will be building it 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?
- The northeast quadrant is 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, we will be constructing the school on the same piece of land where these amenities are currently located.
Strathcona County – Recreation, Parks and Culture department has indicated they plan to add a ball diamond within the County to replace the Heritage Hills diamond, but the location has not yet been determined. There are no specific plans yet for replacing the ice rink, but the County will make every effort to ensure members of the Heritage Hills community continue to have access to important recreational amenities.
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.
Once the traffic impact assessment is submitted to our colleagues at Strathcona County, we can discuss access and traffic issues with them to ensure our students are safe, and traffic can move through the area efficiently and with minimal disruption.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION:
When will EIPS break ground on the replacement school?
- Ground is anticipated to be broken for the new school sometime during the late spring/early summer of 2018.
When will the replacement school be completed and what will be the first day of school?
- We anticipate construction will be completed in early 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 will take place on Feb. 13 and Feb. 21, 2018 at which attendees can view the site plan and school design the architect has developed. We are committed to making sure the new school is a great fit for the neighbourhood.
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?
- The name of the school will stay the same. Wye Elementary has a long and storied history in Strathcona County that we wish to preserve.
How many Wye Elementary students live in the Heritage Hills area?
- As of Sept. 30, 2017, there were 154 Wye Elementary students who resided in Heritage Hills, with 65 students in the area attending another EIPS school.
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 and determination of attendance boundaries.
Who will be eligible to attend Wye Elementary? Will boundary exemptions be allowed?
- 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 boundaries – if they do need to be changed, public meetings will be held to gather input in that regard.
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 will be required to pay transportation fees if they live less than 2.39km from the new 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 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?
- 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 when the school moves?
- As the new building is a replacement school, the staff would move from the current location 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?
We held meetings in June 2017 to talk to students, families and residents about the replacement school.
Two information nights were hosted on Sept. 26 and Oct. 5, 2017 for parents, staff and interested community members to provide input on the preliminary site plan and school design options.
What public engagement is planned?
We are hosting the next information nights on February 13 and 21 to share the final school design and site plan the architect has developed. We encourage all parents, staff and interested community members to attend.
We are collecting email addresses to send updates directly to interested stakeholders throughout the entire process.
Additional opportunities for public engagement will take place throughout the process and will be communicated to all stakeholders as we move forward.
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.