Province to modernize École Citadelle in Legal

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Henri Lemire, Superintendent of Schools, Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord (Greater North Central Francophone Education Region No.2); Ken Baril, Mayor Town of Legal; Michelle Baril, school principal; Maureen Kubinec, MLA for Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock; Ronald St. Jean, Trustee, Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord; and David Frechette, president ACFA Centralta (French Canadian Association of Alberta). – Lucie Roy photo

by Lucie Roy

Legal – École Citadelle was among a number of schools to receive funding announcements from the province Friday. Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec said the project would involve modifying the interior areas of the existing school to better meet educational programming needs and make better use of existing space. The project will include the addition of two regular size classrooms, a locker room, washrooms, an infirmary and a gathering area for junior high students.

Kubinec was not able to unveil exact dollar amounts or timelines as the project has not been tendered yet. “The planning starts right now, and hopefully [it will be] completed by 2016,” Kubinec said. “It is dependent on contractors, material and on a needs basis.” The MLA went on to say last year’s flooding in Southern Alberta set government plans back, and that she hoped nothing similar happened this summer.

With classes averaging 18 to 24 students each, École Citadelle’s growth has forced them to place two 30-student classes in the neighbouring Centralta Community Hall, a situation that occurred when the school grew from 100 to 135 students last year. Henri Lemire, Superintendent of Schools for the Greater North Central Francophone Education Region No. 2 said the marriage with the ACFA who built the building and the school is solid but the school is beginning to encroach upon them. As the school grows they must look at another stage. Security is a concern; keys, locks, cameras, and a backyard fence all have to be upgraded to a modern level of security.
School Principal Michelle Baril is relieved the project will take place. “There is a big need,” she said. “The school board has already done lots. Hopefully there will be enough funds to complete these parts of the proposal.” Baril went on to say the original request included a junior high lounge and a new staff room and other items. The school board completed two thirds of the needs using capital reserve funding.

Principal Baril is not alone in being pleased with the announcement; her husband, Mayor Ken Baril was also thrilled with the news. “Excellent. Super excited and super excited having our school grow,” the mayor said. “It brings families to the community.”

While the Barils were excited by the news, Trustee Ronald St. Jean, a former École Citadelle student, was touched with the announcement. After attending the school he eventually became a teacher in Lethbridge and Red Deer. St. Jean said he thought proudly of being a francophone and being from Legal when he taught. “This announcement has touched me,” he said. “The modernization will go far to ensure the welfare, safety and educational experience of the students. Mrs. Kubinec, on behalf of my colleagues of the Conseil Scolaire Centre Nord, I wholeheartedly thank you and Alberta Education for your continued support of francophone education and the francophone students.”

École Citadelle offers a preschool program, full-time kindergarten, an early literacy program, a hockey program for older students for older students, and a learn-to-skate program for younger students.

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