Our Stories > Posts > New Ehpewapahk Alternative School sets students up for success

Image of the schoolSchools play a critical role in creating healthy, thriving communities. A school is where children learn about the world, discover what inspires them and dream about the possibilities of the future. These spaces should be safe, inviting and durable.

Maskwacis Alberta, 70 km south of Edmonton, is the home of Ermineskin Cree Nation, a community where most of the population is under 30 years old. The Ehpewapahk Alternative School offers the Cree speaking community non-traditional teaching methods to help students thrive in the classroom and prepare to transition into the working world.

Their old facility, constructed from outdated portable trailers, was in need of enhancements to better serve the community. Former school principal Wendy Solland seized the opportunity to make significant improvements by giving the school a complete overhaul.

We partnered with the Ermineskin Cree Nation to build an all new, technology-focused school from brand new modular units that will inspire and support the growing number of students in the program. The new school includes four classrooms, study rooms, a library, a workout facility, commercial kitchen, staff lounge and offices, and open areas for students to relax. The facility was also fitted with the latest technology, including smart boards and solar power.

Together with Ermineskin Cree Nation, and funding from INAC (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada), we engaged community members and school employees to create a supportive environment, that considered factors such as lighting and colours and incorporated cultural elements of Ermineskin Cree Nation. The new school features a beautiful sun graphic that welcomes guests through the front entrance, and captures the essence of the school's name, "Morning Sun".

"The new building will reflect how important this program is to the community," said Brian Wildcat, Ermineskin Ehpewapahk Community Superintendent.

On October 20, 2017, we celebrated the completion of this project with a grand opening ceremony welcoming the community to their new facility.


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