Wood Buffalo celebrated the grand re-opening of Fort McMurray Composite High School (FMCHS).
Dozens of students and staff joined alumni, FMPSD management, and representatives from all three levels of government in the celebration.
Opened in 1977, FMCHS underwent an extensive modernization process starting in 2011.
Students from grades seven to 12 attended classes often times within earshot of heavy construction.
Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) Superintendent Doug Nicholls thanked school staff for their hard work and patience.
“Composite High is set for many decades of success, steeped in history, [and] poised for the future.”
Phase two of construction began in 2015 and 2016 with final modernization finishing shortly before the grand re-opening ceremony.
“It is never easy to work through construction. Congratulations to the students, staff, and school leadership on this beautiful building, and thank you to everyone for their diligence and patience in seeing this project through.”
Moreover, the price tag for modernizing FMCHS was $39-million.
In total, 11,406 sq. meters of the region’s oldest high school received quite an upgrade.
New modern look
FMPSD Associate Superintendent of Business & Finance, Allan Kallal, oversaw the renovations.
He said the school’s new and improved features will contribute to an improved overall learning experience for students.
“Composite’s modernization has resulted in an amazing new instructional space for students. With improved lighting to many classrooms, and gathering areas for them to study, relax or rehearse. Students today get the benefits of modern amenities, additional parking and bright gathering spaces to call their own.”
Other highlights include a new atrium, cafeteria, roofing, and exterior façade.
FMCHS Student Council President Hannah Duffy said to see the final product, after witnessing the construction first-hand, is a worthwhile experience.
“it is truly wonderful to have a building that reflects the dedication and pride, which exists among all students and teachers here.”
FMCHS Class of 1988 and former RMWB Mayor Melissa Blake echoed those words in her address to the students.
“Whether you’re academically, artistically, or otherwise inspired, [I encourage] you always to be bold and pursue your dreams, to be kind all the time because it makes you feel good. Be as cool as ‘Comp’.”
FMCHS also teaches automotive, cosmetology, culinary arts, fashion, the arts, and welding.
Calling it a top-of-the-line 21st-century educational facility, Danny Tulk said Composite High School continues to have a profound effect on the region.
“While it’s true that a school is far more than a building, it’s the kids, teachers, parents, culture, history and more. We now have a building that matches the passion and pride our staff and students have for the school.”
Tulk added Composite High School isn’t just part of Fort McMurray, the school is Fort McMurray.
Notable Composite High alumni also include MLA Tany Yao, former MP and MLA Brian Jean, country singer Aaron Lines, and former NHL player Chris Phillips.