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Opinion: Carlyle's persistence pays off

People in Carlyle know their town needs a new school. Their efforts and patience have been rewarded.
Welcome to Carlyle sign
Carlyle was the recipient of snow and wind in the last storm on April 23 and 24.

The Carlyle area has been waiting for a new school for a long time.

It has led the South East Cornerstone Public School Division’s priority list for major capital projects for a number of years. If it’s been at the top of Cornerstone list for a while, then you can be sure it’s been on the school division’s radar for even longer.

If it’s been on the school division’s wish list for a long time, then the need for a new school has been discussed in the town for many years, too.

The provincial government finally green-lighted the project in Wednesday’s provincial budget. The government says there is $4.4 million allocated this year for planning for five new capital projects in the province, including a new kindergarten-Grade 12 school in Carlyle that would consolidate the Carlyle Elementary School and the Gordon F. Kells High School.

It doesn’t say what will happen in the planning stage this year. It’s vague. But that’s par for the course for a budget.

The bottom line, though, is this project is finally proceeding.

The community of Carlyle deserves all the credit in the world for making this happen. They have patiently waited while the government has addressed other needs throughout the province. (And there are a lot of other communities that need a new school). Since Carlyle has two schools, and with the government’s desire to have just one school in communities of this size, a renovation of the existing schools wasn’t going to happen.

The people of Carlyle also deserve credit for not sitting on their hands. They reminded the government how much Carlyle needed the new school. I’m sure there were discussions of how much the Carlyle area means to the province, with its contributions through agriculture, tourism, and oil and gas. It’s a great town with a lot of young people.

You also have to think the creation of the Carlyle Community Complex Foundation was a factor in this announcement. It’s one thing to tell the government the town needs a new school. It’s another thing to prove how much they want it.

Similar committees have been struck for other school projects in the province. They have added amenities that were needed for the school. The foundation that has been formed in Carlyle has some ambitious goals in mind. They have already started with the fundraising. And they have a lot of work ahead of them.

It’s great to see that donations have been coming in already, as people are putting their money where their mouth is, and we’re seeing concepts like the harvest fundraiser, which has proven to be successful for other causes in the past.

But further patience will also be needed. That’s going to be tough, because people have waited for a long time as it is. But we have to remember that construction isn’t going to begin tomorrow, this week or possibly even this year. 

These things take time. And once construction does begin, it’s going to take a while to build.  Just ask the great people in Oxbow and Carnduff, who have had new schools constructed within the past 20 years. While you’re at it, ask the people in Oxbow and Carnduff about the difference a new school has made, not just for the students and staff, but for the community as a whole.

Those at the Carlyle Elementary School and Gordon F. Kells High School have done the best they can in school buildings that are due for a replacement. This announcement has given them something to look forward to.

But they will have to make do for a little while longer, because there’s still a lot of work that has to be done before they get to move into their much-deserved new school.