EDMONTON -- A new public high school and recreation centre in southwest Edmonton is opening this fall after years of planning.

The Dr. Anne Anderson School and Community Centre will open in September with a capacity of approximately 2,000 students.

“The southwest quadrant of the city continues to be the fastest growing part of the city, we absolutely require high school space to accommodate the number of students that will be high school age,” said EPSB Trustee Nathan Ip.

“So the high school will certainly be an important part of ensuring we have high quality learning spaces for our students.”

The school was announced in 2017 and is named after Dr. Anne Anderson, an author of more than 90 books about the Cree language and Metis history and traditions.

Dr. Anderson also established the Dr. Anne Anderson Native Heritage and Cultural Centre in 1981 which offered Cree language courses as well as a library and other resources for all ages.

“Dr. Anne was a passionate educator and author who was dedicated to preserving the Cree language and Metis history,” said Ip. “[Her] legacy is fundamental to this school’s design.”

The building features a large open concept design with tree-like beams, and a teepee structure engraved with Cree words in the entry that Ip says will greet students every day.

Dr. Anne Anderson High School and Community Centre

The community centre includes a gym, running track and rooms for programming and rentals.

The district also hopes to expand the site with a future addition to hold 2,500 students.

This will be the district’s first new high school in more than a decade.