Cochrane to bid farewell to Holy Spirit School in anticipation of move to new location

Students, staff and the greater-Cochrane community will soon bid farewell to Holy Spirit School’s home of nearly 30 years.

Students, staff and the greater-Cochrane community will soon bid farewell to Holy Spirit School’s home of nearly 30 years.

The Calgary Catholic School District elementary school is preparing for a move to its new building in Fireside – where it will become Fireside Catholic School – 28 years after it took residency of what was originally Andrew Sibbald Public School, built at 129 Powell St. in 1956 .

The spirit of the school, principal Kim Welte said on May 19, will remain alive and well in its new location as much as it has in the historic building it currently occupies.

“It’s the people in the building that make the school,” she said. “As far as the legacy, we still have Holy Spirit. We’re just moving buildings.”

In preparation for the move, there will be a farewell celebration in the gymnasium to provide an opportunity for the many generations of Cochranites who have walked the schools’ hallways, and other interested parties, to revisit the countless memories made there.

The event will happen in conjunction with Catholic Education Week, and in particular, World Catholic Education Day, on May 26.

“We knew we wanted to do something to celebrate the history of Holy Spirit,” Welte explained. “That’s why we picked the farewell on that day. It’s just so that the community and former staff can all come in and have one last look at Holy Spirit here.”

Faculty have also invited members of the Stoney Nakoda community, who will say a prayer in honor of the school parting ways with the building. Indigenous singers and dancers will also be present.

The school’s 265 students and 28 staff members will remain in the building until the end of June, but will start fresh in September in a brand-new building designed to teach up to 800 students.

Despite being built out as a K-9 school, it will stay K-6, with St. Timothy’s High School still meeting the demand for local Catholic education for Grades 7-12.

Welte anticipates there will be about 300 students enrolled at Fireside Catholic School. The amount of space they’ll have available, she added, will create exciting new opportunities for students to learn and for staff to teach.

Typically, foods classes aren’t offered until junior high, she said, but in the new school, they will have a large CTS lab upstairs that will allow students in grades 4 to 6 to learn culinary skills.

The building was also designed with a woodworking shop for junior high students; however, it will be turned into a dance and drama studio to be more age-appropriate for the student body.

The school will also come equipped with up-to-date equipment, furniture and fixtures, as nearly all of the current building’s furnishing will be left behind.

“They’ll get to learn differently in this new building, with just the collaboration and communication that our 21st-century learners are requiring for jobs that aren’t even invented yet,” said Welte.

Rocky View Schools, which owns the building on Powell St., plans to leave the structure in place and has an occupant lined up to move into the space in 2023, according to Welte.

The farewell celebration will run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and also includes a student art silent auction, the proceeds of which will go back to the school for student-oriented events and programming.

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