A slate of new projects at Rimbey Christian School will ultimately benefit the community at large.
Organizers see a new gym, soccer field and skating rink as community facilities.
The multi-use facility was able to start breaking ground earlier this year after an anonymous donor brought the 33-year gymnasium dream closer to reality, said Harold Grinde, chairman of the board for Rimbey Christian School.
“As of today, we have nearly completed the outdoor skating rink,” he said. “The project wasn’t just about a gym – it was also about an outdoor skating rink, a new soccer field, a landscaped yard and an expanded parking lot as well,” he said.
“The parking lot has been expanded – there are some finishing touches maybe for next summer. But we do have the outdoor rink completed other than we are waiting for the electrical service for the gym to be put in, and that will also be our power feed to the rink,” he added.
“We don’t have lights out there operational yet, but we are hoping that will happen in the next month or so.
“But the cement pad is done, the boards are up – Pro-Line Manufacturing in Blackfalds built the boards for us,” he said. “It’s really nice, and we’ve started flooding it although the weather is going to be just a bit too warm this week to get the ice completed.”
As to the gym, Eagle Builders supplied the concrete walls and the footing and foundation was done by local contractor Dolman Construction as well.
“So the gym is coming along,” he said, adding that it will likely be ready for use by next spring.
“We are hoping to have the roof on it by the first of the year. And then we can start working inside – there are the connector rooms to do, painting and all kinds of things to finish in there. Realistically, it probably won’t be open for use until next school year. But if we could get it done before then, we would love to,” he said.
“The school is 34 years old this year, and it’s been a dream of the school for all of those years to get a gymnasium,” he said. “It really has come to fruition finally – it’s been a long time coming. They had, I think, three other runs at building a gym where they started trying to raise funds and get enough support to go for it, and they all fell flat.
“But this year, we were really blessed in that we were able to sell a little chunk of land to the Gull Lake Gas Co-op which helped us.”
They also had some funds from previous years that were earmarked for a new gym, plus, as mentioned, an anonymous donor contributed $250,000 for the gym project just over a year ago.
“That really is what got us over the hump – we could then see it happening.”
The school also applied for a government grant to help with the project, which ultimately went to covering the costs for the boards for the rink.
“It’s amazing how it all came together, and that it all came together during this year with COVID-19. You’d think it would be the last time possible to make this happen.”
Having the project move forward this year also helped several local contractors keep busy with some steady work, he said.
“In a way, it’s been really good for our little community and our local economy because we do have this happening right now,” he said.
Meanwhile, Grinde said his team will shortly begin to ask for community support towards to helping to cover project costs. “We will be seeking assistance from businesses and individuals in the community to support this project.”
If anyone is interested in helping out, they can call the school office for more information at 403-843-4790 or Harold Grinde directly at 403-357-8414.
He reiterated that the school believes this is a community project.
“I think that we can’t stress enough that we view this as a community initiative,” he said. “We will absolutely make the gym available to anyone who needs to use it. If there is a men’s sports club, for example, that wants to use the gym and we aren’t using it, we would absolutely want it to be available to other people,” he said, adding that a small fee would be set up as well.
“The outdoor rink is obviously being used by community kids all the time – anytime we aren’t using them, all of our facilities are open to the public and that’s the way we want it,” he said. “We also thank the community for all of the support that we get.”