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Vera M. Welsh replacement school update

Design plans for a replacement school for Vera M. Welsh Elementary School in Lac La Biche are moving forward again now that Lac La Biche County council has approved a site for the school.

“We are grateful that Council approved the site for the new school and agreed to remove the requirement for land to be transferred to another school board,” said Board Chair Karen Packard. “Our understanding is that we still have time to complete all of the work required in the design plan phase in order to be approved for construction in the next round of school infrastructure announcements.”

Northern Lights Public Schools was approved for design plan funding by Alberta Infrastructure as part of capital planning announcements made in March. The design plan phase includes securing a site for the school, working with an architect on the design, and preparing everything that is needed to go to tender. In July, Lac La Biche County Council made a motion to approve land for the new school, but only if NLPS agreed to transfer nine acres of land behind Light of Christ School to the Catholic school board. Following that motion, NLPS was told planning on the project could not proceed until the land issue was settled.

Packard, NLPS trustees, Superintendent Rick Cusson, and Secretary-Treasurer Paula Elock attended Tuesday’s county council meeting to request that council rescind the motion and approve the site so that the project could move forward. Council agreed to remove the restrictions and approved a site near the Bold Center for the new school.

“We are excited to restart work on the design of the school and move closer to having a new public elementary school in Lac La Biche after over 20 years of advocating for the project,” explained Packard.