Original Published on Jun 23, 2022 at 10:11

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

More than 1,200 students will be welcomed at the $78.5 million Grande Prairie Composite High School (GPCHS) in September. 

Grande Prairie Public School Division (GPPSD) confirmed the school will be ready for the 2022-23 school year last Friday, June 17.

The grade 9-12 school will be the largest high school north of Edmonton, says GPPSD.

“It has been a long time coming, and I am excited about this historic event for our students and the greater school community,” says Dennis Vobeyda, GPCHS principal.

The new building has been in the building phase for over two years.

“The project is designed to allow for the addition of modular classrooms, and a permanent addition as enrollment grows,” GPPSD told Town & Country News.

GPPSD said the school is designed to support up to 1,600 students and will be expandable to 2,000 with the addition of modular and permanent classrooms.

No additions are expected for a few years, says GPPSD.

“We will continue to offer our Athletic Academy programming, and we proudly remain the only high school north of Edmonton to provide the International Baccalaureate Programme,” said Vobeyda.

The new high school offers spacious shops for senior trades, a theatre, and touch-screen interactive displays in each classroom.

Accessibility was a design feature, and braille is included on classroom signage.

A new logo that depicts a phoenix rising from the school’s name has been unveiled.

“Our school division’s mission is to be a place where every student succeeds, and with this new school, our Phoenixes have a bright future,” says Vobeyda.

GPCHS first opened in 1963 under the name of Grande Prairie Vocational High School; it became the Composite in 1970.

A farewell to the current building is being organized for June 26, where residents can register and receive a tour through the school. The event will host a silent auction that will include mementos and memories from the current building that will not be moving over to the new site due to space limitations.

The auction proceeds will support the Grande Prairie Public School Division Education Foundation.

The old school will be turned over to Alberta Infrastructure, where hazardous materials in the building will be attended to before the building is demolished, said GPPSD.

A grand opening ceremony is planned for the new school on Sept. 27, with more details to come as the school year begins.

This item reprinted with permission from Town & Country News, Beaverlodge, Alberta