Westwind Weekly News
The Village of Stirling has reached $564,988 in fundraising for the ongoing renovations of its school, reaching more than half of its $1-million goal.
This achievement was announced on April 16 at the grand re-opening for Phase I of Stirling School’s modernization.
The total includes $125,000 from the village and $134,988 from donors, as well as $305,000 in commitments.
“Things are going much better,” Ben Nilsson, the School Modernization Fundraising Committee chair, said of the fundraising drive.
As of March 21, the town had raised only $268,000, according to CAO Mike Selk, a bit more than half of the current total.
“We’ve worked pretty hard to try to get people to be aware of things and some other people have stepped up to the plate,” said Nilsson.
Members of the community filled the renovated half of the school, with its brand new gym, library, administrative offices, cafeteria and common space.
Principal Ingeborg Pot says the school’s modernization is long overdue.
“The school was literally falling apart,” she said.
“Everywhere you looked, there was water damage. There (were) cracks in the wall. Bricks were falling out. The electrical work was shot.”
A few years ago, administration took a representative of Alberta Education on a tour of the facility.
“We convinced the powers that be that it was needed,” said Pot. “One tour was all it took for them to realize that we needed something.”
Mayor Trevor Lewington says the new facilities are a “night and day difference from what was here before.
“It’s bright. It’s open. It’s beautiful, (with) all kinds of great student areas, all kinds of new technology.
“It’s really a marvel,” he said.
“Before there was some very antiquated systems, in terms of the mechanics. The school hadn’t really been updated since the ‘80s and even before then, some of the infrastructure was back into the ‘50s.”
The new building includes LED lighting, high-speed WiFi and will have solar panels on its roof, Lewington added.
“A school is the heart and core of any small community,” he said. “The Stirling School is not just our largest employer, it is also our gateway to the future. This project will help to ensure many future generations of Stirling students have a modern facility in which to learn.
“We’re fortunate to have so many generous partners, businesses and residents willing to give to help make this project a reality.
Phase II of the renovations is slated to be completed by the end of the summer.