Berry graduated from Westpark Middle School in 1978.
“This is where my architecture career began,” he said. “I’m looking forward to taking a brick out of [the building] here and keeping it as a souvenir.”
A number of students were involved in the design of the new building.
Della Ruston, associate superintendent of system services for Red Deer Public School District, said their input was crucial.
“We created a design team as soon as we found out we were replacing the school rather than modernizing it,” she said.
Ruston said students came up with some very creative ideas, such as an anti-gravity room and thumb-identification for lockers.
“Some things we couldn’t accommodate but we took them all into consideration,” Ruston said.
Some student ideas that were implemented include having collaborative and outdoor spaces, no hallways and using solar technology.
The RDPSD board and the student design team wanted to make the school accessible to all children as well, said Ruston.
The school will “be 100 per cent accessible,” she said. “Some buildings will put the elevator off to the side, but our student design team said … we need to put the elevator in the middle of the building.”
A grant will be applied for to build an all-access playground at the school, Ruston added.
Exterior washrooms and a concession will be built with $200,000 provided by the City of Red Deer. Red Deer Minor Baseball also provided $100,000 for the school and will have an office inside the building.
The school is expected to be completed by September, 2019.