Wolf Creek Public Schools’ newest high school will be Iron Ridge Secondary Campus. The name was unveiled as WCPS’ Board of Trustees was joined by Provincial, Municipal, school and project partners for a groundbreaking ceremony May 27.
WCPS’ Trustees and Division administration and staff were joined by the Honourable Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education; the Honourable Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka; Blackfalds Mayor Jamie Hoover; Lacombe County Deputy Reeve John Ireland, as well as officials with Concert-Bird Partners, Ainsworth and Iron Ridge Junior Campus students and administrators from Blackfalds’ schools.
“This new high school is a tremendous opportunity for Wolf Creek and for the community of Blackfalds,” said Luci Henry, WCPS Board Chair. “Families in Blackfalds can begin with Wolf Creek in elementary school and make their way to and through high school in the town they live in, completing their education in their own community.”
Henry spoke about the importance of partnerships in moving forward the priority of a new high school in Blackfalds, a first for the community.
“We are grateful for the close partnership with Blackfalds’ Town Council that helped move that need forward and to the Government of Alberta when the announcement was made in 2019 to make this school a reality,” she said. “We are happy to partner with Concert Bird, which came on board in 2021 with a commitment to deliver a modern, safe and caring high school. One that will make this school an awesome place for students and staff.”
Blackfalds Mayor Jamie Hoover said it was an important day for the community.
“This is a milestone, something that has taken a number of years of growth and recognition to get through,” said Hoover. “This is the beginning of significant change for our community, for our parents and for our youth.”
Lacombe County Deputy Reeve John Ireland said a high school is crucial to the community and will have a positive effect on the other schools.
“It will renew opportunities for Blackfalds students, allowing them to represent their town in various activities including school sport and academic competitions. As well as enhancing the feeling of community among students, their families and the town,” said Ireland.
Lacombe Ponoka MLA Ron Orr explained that one of his goals has been new schools for the community of Blackfalds and thanked all the partners who were involved in moving Iron RIdge Secondary Campus forward.
“Thank you to all of you who have been part of advocating,” Orr said. “Blackfalds is truly one of those growing communities in Alberta; it is a young community. Students will fill the halls of this school very quickly.”
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said breaking ground on the community’s first high school is an exciting step forward.
“Schools are focal points for communities and a gathering point for friends and neighbours. When a school is built it impacts a community for generations. More than a place of learning, it binds communities together as it continues to grow,” said LaGrange.
The name of the school — Iron Ridge Secondary Campus — was also unveiled through the help of current Grade 7 students at Iron Ridge Junior Campus. WCPS Superintendent Tim De Ruyck explained that the name was selected after an online public engagement.
“We received loud and clear that Iron Ridge Secondary Campus must continue and share the name Iron Ridge with its sister schools in Blackfalds,” said De Ruyck.
A number of years ago, the WCPS schools in Blackfalds were rebranded and there was a committee struck at that time. That committee was made up of families, parents, staff and community members. They settled on the Iron Ridge branding.
“The history behind it is that Blackfalds used to be the main railroad hub in Alberta so 'Iron' was chosen to recognize the significant contribution of Blackfalds at that time. 'Ridge' was chosen to recognize the landscape and that Blackfalds is on a ridge type formation.,” explained De Ruyck. “Continuing on with Iron Ridge pays tribute and honours the hard work, vision and community input of that past committee.”
Henry told those in attendance that her thoughts are of the Grade 7 students who joined them at the ceremony and of future young students who will one day learn at Iron Ridge Secondary Campus.
“The Grade 7 students who are helping us celebrate today, they will be among the first to learn right here where we stand today,” she said.
“They will be among the first to walk across a graduation stage in Blackfalds and receive a well-earned and deserved High School diploma.
“I think of the experiences they will have, the teachers that will inspire them and the school that will serve them well and set them on their path through high school and beyond.”
Construction on the 950 capacity school is set to begin in June and is expected to open for September 2024.