By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – With just a couple weeks left until the 2011-2012 school year begins, an agreement has been reached with the Town of Morinville to provide the Sturgeon School Division with access to the cultural centre’s meeting rooms for Grades 1 – 4 students taking the secular education program.

Arrangements had been made previously with the Morinville RC Parish Hall to make the upper floor of the hall available for early childhood students, including Head Start and Kindergarten attendees; however, a delay in modular classroom availability and a lack of space at neighbouring École Georges P. Vanier School left all parties scrambling to find available space for Grades 1 – 4 students in time for the commencement of the new school year. Higher grades will continue to be bussed to other Sturgeon schools due to a lack of enrolment in Grades 5 and above.

“We understand this has been a challenging process, particularly for the Morinville parents who have remained hopeful for the new school,” explained Sturgeon School Division Superintendent, Michele Dick in a release Thursday morning. “We are grateful for everyone’s patience and pleased to announce that parents can now confidently register their children for classes at Morinville’s first and only secular school.”

Sturgeon Associate Superintendent of Student Services said the early education programs at the Parish Hall will be divided up into small learning spaces with lots of activity space available. The higher grades will occupy the meeting rooms at the new cultural centre with two classes: a Grade 1-2 and Grade 3-4 split. “We have two nice, very clean spaces there for the two classes to operate until late November [or] early December when we anticipate that the modular will be brought to Vanier School.”

McGregor said parents would be phoned to apprise them of the latest news. She did not know exactly how many students were enrolled; however, recent figures indicate approximately 55 students. “It looks like we will have small classes of we’re hoping 10 to 12 in classes,” she said. “I think this is just an amazing opportunity for good quality education programing [with] small classes, lots of attention to the children. For those families who feel strongly about a public option, that public option is now available.”

Morinville Public Elementary School’s office will open on Aug. 24 and will be located at 10020-101 Avenue in Morinville. There division will hold a public open house at their central office at 9820- 104 Street in Morinville on Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. where division representatives and the school’s newly hired Principal will be onsite to talk with parents.