Designed by local architect Roland Lines, the cornerstone of the building was laid by the first premier (and education minister) of Alberta, Alexander Rutherford in 1907, the same year Strathcona became a city. The school was officially opened by Lieutenant-Governor George Bulyea on 17 February 1909. It was one of the largest and most up-to-date school buildings in the province at the time, featuring an advanced automatic climate control system. The style is described as Edwardian Classical Free, which retains some decorative features of the Victorian era but is more subdued, practical, and utilitarian, and less traditional.
The building has received a number of renovations since its opening. The most recent major renovation and restoration took place in 1997. Since then, smaller restoration projects like new flooring have taken place. Modernization of the school to include computer labs, a wifi network and LCD projectors in classrooms have been careful to maintain the historic integrity of the building. Some elements, such as the external fire escapes, remain part of the building for historic integrity, but are no longer in use due to structural age. Many of the building’s mechanical systems, although today out-of-date and replaced for efficiency and safety reasons, were highly advanced when the building was constructed. Many elements have been left by renovations for decorative effect, are on display in the school, or have been stored in the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
In September 2008, in recognition of the academic history of the various institutions that have used the building over the years and the architectural significance of the building, the school was designated a Provincial Historic Resource. This designation limits the modifications and additions that can be performed on the building.
For more information on this historic school, check out this Wikipedia article.
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