The CBE plans for future student growth

The CBE plans for future student growth

by ahnationtalk on June 18, 2015651 Views

Jun. 17, 2015

The 10-Year System Student Accommodation and Facilities Strategy (2015-2024) is a guide to how the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) will address both current and anticipated future student accommodation and facility needs. The strategy was presented to and accepted by the Board of Trustees at the June 16, 2015 meeting.

Ongoing Need for New Spaces for Students

By 2018, the CBE will add spaces for students through the addition of a number of new facilities, including:

  • 10 new elementary schools
  • 8 new middle schools
  • 2 new high schools
  • 19 new modular classrooms (in 2016)
  • New Aboriginal Learning Centre at Harold W. Riley School
  • Re-opening of Glenmeadows School for Spanish Bilingual program

“The facilities we have now and will build in the future must support high-quality, personalized learning for students in Early Development Centres through to Grade 12. They must take into account the changing needs of today’s learners, curriculum changes and new initiatives,” said Frank Coppinger, superintendent facilities and environmental services.

CBE Administration’s challenge is to achieve 80 per cent space utilization system-wide, as well as meet the demand for modernization of existing facilities.

The 10-year strategy identifies and outlines a plan for a mix of student accommodation that reflects changing student needs and fiscal realities.

Future Growth

Student enrolment is projected to increase by just over 22,500 students (20 per cent) over the next decade. The highest growth in student population is anticipated in Area V in south Calgary, followed by Area II in the central north area of the city.

To help accommodate these students, in March 2015, the Board of Trustees approved the Three-Year School Capital Plan 2016-2019 requesting 20 new schools and 13 major modernizations for the CBE.
An additional 14 schools are forecast to be required in the next 10 years that are not included in this plan. If these new schools are not approved we can expect our system utilization rate to increase to over 90 per cent.

Modular Classrooms

The CBE has over 700 modular classrooms across the system, situated on schools that have reached capacity to help house additional students.

The strategic direction for the CBE is dispose of an estimated 60 modular classrooms that have been assessed to be in a marginal or poor condition. These structures are deemed not suitable to be moved to an alternate school that has a need for classroom space.

These modular units could be disposed of and the equivalent space replaced with permanent school facilities suitably located in the growing communities of greater Calgary.  The replacement of these learning spaces is equivalent to three new schools.

Aging Facilities

The original design life of most CBE schools has been in the range of 50 years; however, 160 facilities (66 per cent) will be older than 50 years within the next decade.

“Ongoing capital investments will be required to replace various building components in our schools once they approach the end of their lifecycle. This would make it possible to utilize a facility beyond the original design life,” said Coppinger.

Educational initiatives, such as personalized learning or the introduction of new technology or equipment, can make an older facility functionally unsuitable for students. Ongoing upgrades and enhancements must be made to ensure there are fewer impacts on students’ educational experiences.

Three-Year System Student Accommodation Plan (2015-2018)

The Board also accepted the Three-Year System Student Accommodation Plan (2015-2018). This report is prepared annually to keep the Board informed of accommodation engagements with communities, decisions made to address accommodation challenges and accommodation issues that have been identified for the next three years.

“A key piece of work over the upcoming years will be planning for the accommodation of students that will be impacted as the result of the schools under construction. This will impact students moving into the new schools and the bus receiver schools,” said Coppinger.

Student accommodation planning is an on-going collaborative process that reflects the ever-changing needs of the Calgary Board of Education.


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