Cypress View School meets centralization needs in a brief existence
As settlers began to arrive in the area around the Cypress Hills, they decided that they wanted to have some sort of organization for their various needs. From this, the Evergreen District was created. The name for the district is simply enough to come by considering that there are many trees in the area that form an evergreen look throughout the year.
One of the first things to be done in the area was the opening of a school that would have the same name. One of the schools in the area was Cypress View School. More and more districts were moving away from the one-room rural schools to a larger consolidation unit. The Medicine Hat School Division submitted proposals to the ratepayers at the Robinson, Newburg, Sentinel and Evergreen schools to locate a good site for a two-room school. This new school would serve all grades between one and eight. Unfortunately, parents were quite opposed to the new school.
The division trustees stuck to their guns though and in 1954, they applied to C.G. Jewes, manager for the school building branch of the government in Edmonton. The school would be in the Newburg District as it was the most central of the districts. Financing would be through a debenture issue. On July 17, 1954, an application was made to the director of school administration, J.F. Swan, to locate the school on a four-acre site in the district. Within a few days, on July 23, the application was approved, and the land was purchased from Ben Lehr at a cost of $60 per acre. The school building itself would cost about $36,000, and a grant through the School Building Assistance Act would cover $8,000 of that.
The new school was completed by December, 1954 and officially opened on Dec. 7. Since the school served children from the entire area, it did not make sense to call it the Newburg School. Instead, on Feb. 22, 1955, an application was sent to A.O. Aalborg, the Minister of Education, to change the name to Cypress View School. Approval was given for this within three days. Albert Hoff would be hired as the first school bus operator and caretaker for the school. Alex Predy served as the first principal from 1954 to 1958, and Marie Bischke was the first teacher. The school would go through many upgrades over the course of the 1950s including getting electrical power at a cost of $1,285.
Unfortunately, 10 years after opening the Medicine Hat School Division decided that it was more economical and beneficial to students to transport them to the Irvine School since it catered all the way to Grade 12. A proposal was put forward to close Cypress View School and in June, 1964 that closure was approved. In 1967, the school was moved to Irvine to provide further space there, officially ending the brief life of Cypress View School.
Suggestions for columns or questions? E-mail Craig at crw[email protected] Listen to his podcast by searching for “Canadian History Ehx” on your podcast platform. Find his show on YouTube by searching for “Canadian History Ehx”.
Information for this column comes from Prairie Wool: A History of Climax and the Surrounding School Districts.