Day care space may be absorbed by Ecole Routhier school

Tina Kennedy
South Peace News

High Prairie School Division No. 48 (HPSD) trustees decided at their Nov. 27 meeting in High Prairie to use the space, which formerly housed Busy Bee Day Care in Falher, as instructional space for Ecole Routhier school if they need it.
When the day care, run under a non-profit society, ran into low attendance rates and volunteer troubles, executive members decided to close their doors.
To get funding for the structure, which is adjacent to Ecole Routhier, HPSD had to apply to Alberta Infrastructure to turn the space into a schooling area.
Ken Riegel, superintendent for HPSD, says before they consider any of the requests they’ve had for the space, they first need to decide whether the school has a need for it.
“We’ll work with the principal to see if Ecole Routhier needs the space. If not, we can look at an outside agency,” says Riegel.
“If there’s need for the instructional space, there’s no need to bring an outside agency into that space.”
A letter of support, sent by principal A. Romanchuk, supported the day care facility.
“Because of it’s affiliation with Ecole Routhier school and HPSD, this program is preparing students for entrance into the divisional system, minimizing the chances that the parents of those students seek an alternate education provider.”
Romanchuk says space is becoming limited because the number of agencies providing services to the school are looking for space.
“At the present time we are often scrambling to accommodate these providers who come in because we don’t really have any spare rooms at their disposal.”
Providing that space for an outside agency resulted in good public relations and contributed positively towards maintaining good school enrolment, she adds.
One such organization is the Smoky River Playschool.
Shelley Lauze, president of the playschool, sent a letter to HPSD noting that they currently have a classroom in Ecole Routhier; however, they anticipate that they will have to move in the near future.
“Our current location is a classroom generously provided to us by the school. We are anticipating that this arrangement will soon come to an end as the requirement for space within the school increases. On behalf of Smoky River Prematernelle and Playschool, we would like to make an application to utilize the space previously occupied by the day care.”
Trustees directed administration to determine just how much space was required by the school before they made promises to anyone else.
“I think it’s important to wait and hear from the principal. It would be prudent to send a letter to these people who have expressed an interest to let them know we’ll use this for instructional space first,” says Joyce Dvornek, trustee for HPSD.