Momentum continues to build for the opening of the new Holy Spirit Catholic School in the Fireside community.
Construction is nearing completion, and school principal Kim Welte hopes they can begin settling in June for a fall opening.
Located on the northwest corner of Fireside Pwy. and Fireside Dr., it will initially open as a K-6 school. It was built as a K-9 and can accommodate up to 800 students. Everything inside will be brand new and incorporate updated educational technology.
“It’s a phenomenal school, and I’m overwhelmed by its beauty,” says Welte. “At the entrance, there’s this great woodwork that’s kind of angled, almost like a pergola. I’m amazed by that.”
Although the name remains the same, there has been a major overhaul of its logo which now includes the words Stoney Nakoda for Holy Spirit.
“Our logo has gone through a huge consultation process since November,” says Welte. “We worked with our staff, then we worked with our community to get feedback, then we had an evening with our Stoney-Nakoda Indigenous elders, so we have a really nice logo.”
It incorporates the yellow, red, black and white of the dove to represent the color of the peoples of the world. The Stoney Nakoda colors of yellow, green, blue and white are highlighted in an outline of the mountains visible from the Fireside community.
“It’s about building relationships,” she explains. “We wanted to make sure we included not only our Cochrane community, but also our Stoney Nakoda families. It’s part of Truth and Reconciliation, and we’re making sure that we listen, hear and try to understand to improve the future for all children.”
She says a new vision and mission statement won’t be complete until the end of the current school year, or maybe even after the school opens in the fall.
“It will be different than it was before, but, of course, always with our Catholic faith at the center of everything we do.”
Helping to open a new school is nothing new for Welte. She was Vice-Principal of St. Basil Elementary Jr. High School when it opened in the Tuscan community of Calgary. She is new to Holy Spirit School this year and has been its principal for 10 years.
The school is now preparing to introduce itself and its students to the Fireside community. On April 12, students and staff will distribute Easter cards throughout Fireside. That same day, a giant red heart and blue cross will be formed by students on school grounds for drone photography. For many students, this will be the first time they see what the new school is like.
“We want to be part of the Fireside community, and it’s a way of letting them know we’re coming.”
The school traditionally delivers Christmas cards in its current neighborhood of East Cochranbe.
There is also a farewell to the old school held in June.
“We hope the community will come out, especially if you were a student, staff member or parent of the school. People will walk by and see this building as the Holy Spirit for the last time.”
The current Holy Spirit School is located on 1st Street E. and is leased to the Rocky View School Division. It has been a Catholic school for about 27 years and before that it was Andrew Sibbald School.
Those interested in receiving a registration package from the school can email Holyspirit@cssd.ab.ca. Inquiries are welcome from Catholics and non-Catholics.