District set for official grand opening of Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School

Lethbridge School District No. 51 is set to officially open the doors to its newest school.

On Friday, Sept. 14 at 10 a.m., officials from the federal and provincial governments, City of Lethbridge and the school district, will gather with local business partners for the grand opening of Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School.

A trailblazer from southern Alberta, who eventually became the first woman to serve as leader of the government in the Senate, Joyce Fairbairn, P.C., C.M., C.D., served as a Canadian senator, who also worked as a journalist in the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa. She was hired as a legislative assistant to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1970.  

The new middle school named in Fairbairn’s honour is a 6,524-square-metre facility with a core capacity of 500 students, expanded to the current opening capacity of 750 thanks to 10 modular classrooms.

Construction on the $23.9 million school began in March of 2016, and includes a full three-station, 724-square-metre gym, similar in size to that of Chinook High School.

“The Board is thrilled to officially open the doors of Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School,” said Lethbridge School District No. 51 Board Chair Clark Bosch. “A school is more than a building, it's a vibrant community with an unlimited source of energy - a place where students and families will put down roots and continue to grow. One of our basic human needs is to belong, and Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School will provide that important sense of belonging and pride to thousands of Lethbridge students for years to come.”

Innovative spaces can be found throughout the school, including a central gathering space, which connects to Fairbairn’s music and drama rooms. The learning commons is also located just off the gathering space. The school features clusters of classrooms organized into pods, some of which include manually-operated glass partitions that can open into adjacent collaboration spaces to enable large team teaching.

The building has been designed and constructed to attain at least LEED Silver status, and includes energy-efficient lighting and heating systems to meet and exceed typical school building energy efficiency. The latest IT systems are fully integrated within the school, which features connection points throughout.

Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School is one of many new schools constructed across the province for the 2018/2019 school year.

“Investing in our education system is one of the most important investments we can make in our province’s future,” said Alberta Education Minister David Eggen. “As part of our government’s largest infrastructure build in the province’s history, nearly 32,000 students will be attending school in new and modernized learning spaces this school year. The new Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School is one of 37 new and modernized schools opening this school year, which will provide students and staff with an innovative and modern learning environment.”

The new middle school has also benefitted from a partnership with The City of Lethbridge on the adjoining park project, which includes two soccer fields, a softball diamond and a six-net basketball court, among other features. The entire park was built over a two-year period at a cost of approximately $2.4 million. The school received a $250,000 playground grant from the Government of Alberta, used to help pay for the playground amenities.

The school is located at 301 Rocky Mountain Blvd. W.

Fairbairn's grand opening will be livestreamed via this link: LIVESTREAM.

Date posted: Sept. 13, 2018