Calgary charter school students displaced by fire to attend classes at MRU

Students at a Calgary charter school who were moved to online learning after fire damaged the building now have classrooms to return to.

Fire crews were called to Foundations for the Future Charter Academy – South High School Campus, in the 300 block of 86th Avenue S.E., about 2 a.m. on May 9.

Crews arrived to find smoke billowing from the building and the fire appeared to have started in a storage area outside the school. Damage was contained to the exterior of the building and no injuries were reported.

Officials initially said students would be moved online for the rest of the year, then on Monday it was announced they have partnered with Mount Royal University to provide classrooms, computer labs and recreation spaces.

“We are pleased we can work with Foundations for the Future Charter Academy during this difficult time,” said MRU president and vice-chancellor Tim Rahilly.

“Calgary is our community and we know the value of in-person learning. We are able to adapt to meet the short-term needs of FFCA, while minimizing interruption to our Continuing Education and spring session classes. We are doing what we can so that these students can complete their programs and be able to write final and diploma exams in the coming weeks.”

Foundations for the Future will rent 15 classrooms, two computer labs and two boardrooms in MRU’s Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning for roughly 500 students, 30 teachers, administrators and staff from May 15 to June 24. 

“This space will allow our students to continue their complete program of learning, including all core and elective courses and be able to write final and diploma exams in a few weeks,” said FFCA principal educator Josh Symonds.

“We are incredibly thankful to be partnering with MRU in this challenging situation. They have worked many hours in a very short time to reorganize their own programs to accommodate our needs. FFCA has always been fortunate to have a great team of administrators, staff, and parents; this reminds us of the larger community of which we are a part.”

This isn’t the first time MRU has responded to an emergency in the community. During the 2013 flood, MRU assisted the Calgary Emergency Response Agency in providing aid for evacuees, and it provided office and meeting space to Bow Valley College after its downtown campus was flooded.

And in 2016, families evacuated from the Fort McMurray wildfires stayed in MRU residences.

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