Centre High will move to Alberta College Campus in fall 2020

A campus for 17- to 20-year-olds to earn and upgrade high school credits and explore career options will have a new home in September 2020.

Students take part in a class at Centre High to pique students’ interest in a career as an educational assistant on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Edmonton. Greg Southam Greg Southam / Greg Southam/

A campus for 17- to 20-year-olds to earn and upgrade high school classes and explore career options will have a new home in September 2020.

Centre High, which is currently in the Boardwalk building downtown on 102 Avenue between 103 and 104 streets, will move to the Alberta College building on MacDonald Drive near 101 Street.

With 2,500 students enrolled, Centre High is consistently full and needs more room, said Lorne Parker, assistant superintendent of infrastructure for Edmonton Public Schools.

As MacEwan University centralizes more of its programs at its city centre campus on 104 Avenue, Centre High will eventually be able to expand at Alberta College, he said. For now, they’ll use about 70 per cent of the building.

“Any space we can add at the high-school level will give us some relief,” Parker said.


Alberta College has existed in Edmonton since 1903.

Kucerak, Ian / Postmedia

Conservatory has a century of history

To make space, MacEwan will move its School of Continuing Education to the fifth floor of the Allard building at its city centre campus during the summer of 2020. The university’s School of Continuing Education offers certificates and classes in business management, English as an additional language university preparation, and more, MacEwan spokesman David Beharry said in a Thursday email.

There are 78 MacEwan staff and 85 contract instructors currently working in the building, he said.

The Conservatory of Music will remain on the fourth and fifth floors of Alberta College “for the foreseeable future,” the institutions said in a Thursday news release.

“MacEwan will be reviewing the operational and space needs of the Conservatory of Music as well as how the Conservatory fits with MacEwan’s mandate as a university, and how it best aligns with music education programming at the university,” Beharry said.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, The Alberta College’s music conservatory was founded in 1903 and operated for decades as a non-denominational private music school.

According to the Edmonton Historical Board, the conservatory has had three buildings on the site. The current structure was built in 1993. MacEwan acquired the building in 2000.

High school crunch

The building is in great condition and already set up as a school, Parker said. Before Centre High moves in, the building will need minor renovations, such as adding walls to make some of the classrooms smaller, he said. The location is ideal, with good access to transit, he said.

“It is a natural fit for us.”

Demand for high school completion courses, opportunities to improve grades and early career training have grown alongside Edmonton public’s ballooning student population, Parker said.

Although a larger Centre High location won’t negate the district’s need for at least two new high schools in south Edmonton, it will help address the demographic bulge of students in their teens and young adulthood, he said.

Edmonton public expects it will be completely out of conventional high school spaces by 2022 and have 4,680 more teens than it can accommodate by 2025 — even with a new high school being built in the Heritage Valley.

The school board was paying $2.4 million annually to lease the Boardwalk building. Parker did not know the fate of that space.

The school board’s lease with MacEwan is for three years, and begins Sept. 1, 2020. Neither publicly funded body would reveal the cost of the lease.

jfrench@postmedia.com