Alberta’s early growth went hand-in-hand with the development of its education system. What is now one of the best educational systems in the world had a humble beginning – the one-room school house. The first one-room school in Alberta was built in 1881. In 1905, when Alberta became a province, there were 562 schools in the province and most of them were rural one-room schools.
Many of the province’s one-room schools have been demolished, moved or left to deteriorate. Preserving the Wanda School will provide future generations with insight into the history of education in Alberta.
As part of its commitment to preserving and honouring our province’s culture and heritage, Alberta’s government is providing $275,000 to the Forestburg Community Development and Promotion Society to help preserve and showcase the Wanda School. The funding for the project comes from the Ministry of Culture and Status of Women’s Community Facility Enhancement Program.
“When you see the physical manifestation of history in front of you such as the Wanda School, it provides an education – but even more than that it inspires. You see just how far we’ve come, and this makes the impossible seem possible.”
Jeanne Rogers was born in the village of Forestburg in 1928. She would later become Jeanne Lougheed, wife to former Premier Peter Lougheed. Jeanne Lougheed was a major supporter of the arts and a tireless advocate for people with disabilities.
The newly created Jeanne Lougheed Historic Park, with the relocated Wanda School as its centrepiece, will attract travellers from within Alberta and abroad. This tourist attraction will diversify and expand the local Forestburg economy, creating jobs and opportunity for residents while strengthening their cultural roots.
“This project recognizes the remarkable legacy of Jeanne Lougheed, a woman from the small town of Forestburg. I am so thrilled to have championed this project and I look forward to enjoying it when completed.”
“We sincerely appreciate the support of the Government of Alberta in helping bring this long-planned project to life. This funding, combined with the kind support of the Lougheed Family, will enable a celebration of our past while creating a new travel and tourism corridor for the enjoyment and benefit of all Albertans.”
- The Wanda School being relocated was constructed in 1940 and served students until it closed in 1951