Meadowridge School unveiled a multi-million dollar, multi-phased expansion plan Thursday that will see the private school grow from the current 540 to upwards of 800 students over the next five years or so.
Phase one is building an early childhood education centre.
Actual on-site work is expected to begin in May, with the demolition of the former headmaster’s home on the property.
Architects are already putting together working plans for that structure. And, pending expansion approval that’s expected in April from the Agricultural Land Reserve, construction of the first new wing will start in early summer with completion expected in time for September 2014 classes.
This first new wing, which will be built near the front of the existing structures, will facilitate doubling of Meadowridge’s junior kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms, said John Becker, past chair of the school’s board of governance.
In the short term, the growth will be felt among the youngest of their students, with one current junior class expanding to two, and a move from two kindergarten classes to three.
But that growth will ultimately trickle up into the other grades through the course of the next five to 10 years, Becker explained.
“We’re embarking on one of the most exciting times in our history. A new expansion…” he said of the expansion of the 240th Street International Baccalaureate school.
This project is expected to cost $3 million, and the school is in the process of embarking on a public fundraising campaign for a third of those funds.
The rest of the school expansion will happen as student enrolment and funding simultaneously make it necessary and possible, Becker explained during an open house at the school Thursday afternoon.
Among other future expansion plans, there’s hope to expand the gymnasium, incorporate more classroom space, add to the existing arts and theatre area, facilitate a greenhouse to grow sustainable foods for consumption in the school.
“What might be the most exciting addition to the site will be a large long house complex with an as yet undetermined purpose,” Becker explained.
Meadowridge started in 1985 with 85 students in a series of portables on 230th Street. It moved to the existing 240th Street site in the early 1990s, and has expanded a number of time since then.
The most recent acquisition was the purchase of a 9.66-acre property – a former riding centre – directly to the north that has now brought the school site from its original 10 acres to 27, Becker said.
The school’s come a long ways from those early beginnings, said Becker and fellow board member Dr. Michael Orser, who were mingling with a few dozen staff and guest at the open house.
The board of governance’s vision for Meadowridge – at least at this point – is to keep it between 800 and 1,000 students at most to maintain the culture of the school.
These expansion plans, they both concurred, would help achieve that.
“This new facility provides us with program expansions on the academics, in our fine arts programs, and with our athletics,” Becker concluded,
• Stay tuned for more on the Meadowridge expansion in the print and online editions of The TIMES