The Black Gold School Division Board of Trustees were joined yesterday by Samson Cree Nation Museum & Archives Language Coordinator Brian Lightning, City of Leduc Mayor Bob Young, MLA Brad Rutherford, project partners and special guests for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of Ohpaho (OH’- PA- HO) Secondary School.
“This is an incredibly thrilling day for us at Black Gold,” said Board Chair Devonna Klaassen. “We can’t wait to see Leduc’s newest high school, Ohpaho Secondary School, come to fruition and we look forward to welcoming you back for the opening ceremony in 2024.”
“Giving Leduc’s newest high school an Indigenous name is a historic first for the Board,” said Chair Klaassen. “This action, combined with the many Indigenous-related educational initiatives taking place across the Division, helps to promote cross-cultural understanding and acceptance, and is a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.”
“An important part of our history and culture is encoded in the language, and at the Samson Cree Nation we are working hard to preserve this important legacy and pass it on to our young people,” said Brian Lightning, Language Coordinator at Samson Cree Nation Museum & Archives. “Adopting this Cree language name for the new high school is, I feel, an act of reconciliation that gives a voice to those who have been marginalized for so long. Thank you for the opportunity to allow us to express ourselves.”
“The City of Leduc is pleased to see ground-breaking on the new Ohpaho Secondary School in our community,” said Mayor Bob Young. “As the city continues to grow, new facilities like this are very important to support and meet our needs today, and for generations to come. We’re excited to see students attend here and enjoy access to high-calibre learning resources that will help equip them to take flight in all that they hope to accomplish.”
“The city of Leduc has seen unprecedented growth over the years and once completed, Ohpaho Secondary School will be a much needed addition to this expanding community,” said MLA Brad Rutherford. “This investment shows our provincial government’s strong support for student learning in state-of-the art schools that will also benefit parents and communities.”
The 9,881m2 Ohpaho Secondary School is located on a 3.9 hectare parcel of land within close proximity to future recreation amenities. It has been designed to a LEED Silver standard under the LEED Canada Design and Construction Reference Guide Standard.
“Throughout the design process of the Ohpaho Secondary School , our emphasis was on providing a safe, open and airy space for student learning,” said Superintendent of Schools Bill Romanchuk. “We focused on making the school ‘future-oriented’ so that the space will fulfill the needs of our students today and be adaptable to address the needs of students for many decades to come.”
The school will feature new and increased programming options for Leduc-area students, including an industrial/commercial kitchen for a culinary arts program, an art kiln for the ceramics program, dedicated spaces for robotics, 3D printing and design/merchandising, video broadcasting and production, horticultural/agricultural studies, and an outdoor classroom. Onsite amenities will include new student and staff parking lots, drop-off spaces, bicycle racks, and a front entrance plaza for student “hangout” space.
Construction on the new high school is expected to cost around $33 Million, and it is scheduled for completion in September 2024. It will initially serve 1,121 students, with an ability to expand to a future capacity of 1,600 students.