August 23, 2012 17:08 ET

ATCO Sustainable Communities and St. Mary's Band Celebrate Opening of New Education Centre

Two-storey pre-fabricated school constructed jointly with Band

CRANBROOK, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 23, 2012) - ATCO Sustainable Communities and the St. Mary's Band today celebrated the opening of the new Aq'amnik Education Centre. Located six kilometres north of Cranbrook, the St. Mary's Band, also known as the Aq'am Community, is a member of the Ktunaxa Nation Council of the Kootenay District.

The 13 large building modules that comprise the new 10,000 sq. ft. two-storey facility were delivered by ATCO to the site where workers from St. Mary's Band had prepared the foundation for the education centre. Once onsite, the pre-fabricated components were lifted in place within just two days.

"This new building is a great example of how ATCO's project expertise combined with our experience in creating successful Aboriginal partnerships can really make a difference in these communities," said Boris Rassin, President, ATCO Sustainable Communities, a new ATCO company that provides a full range of pre-fabricated building solutions for Indigenous and other remote communities.

"We've worked hard with the community planners over the past few months to take this project from concept to student-ready," he added. "Together we've delivered not only a modern facility ready for the new school year, but also one that is scalable where new classrooms or even a gymnasium can be added as needed."

The state-of-the-art facility will accommodate 100 students from Kindergarten to Grade 7, doubling the capacity of the old school. It will include six classrooms, a multi-purpose room that will serve as library and music room, a First Aid room, as well as staff rooms and a kitchen. It will also feature a biofuel district heating system that burns wood chips - the first of its kind in the area.

"The Education Centre represents an important step for the community in taking control of the education of our children," said St. Mary's Chief Cheryl Casimer. "We can now offer our students of all ages a safe, inviting and inspiring place to learn."

This project is the first initiative to follow a Joint-Venture Agreement signed between ATCO and Aq'am Community Enterprises, a development corporation wholly owned by the St. Mary's Band.

"Building the new education centre demonstrates the many ways this partnership will benefit our community," said Chief Casimer. "Not only do we have this great new place for our students but, through our role in the planning and construction, we've also created employment opportunities and gained valuable skills training that we can apply to future projects within our community and throughout the greater Cranbrook region."

ATCO Sustainable Communities can design and build any facility a community may need ranging from offices, schools and daycare centres to residential housing, hockey arenas and retail outlets. The company also provides utility infrastructure, such as water purification and distributed power generation facilities.

Headquartered in Calgary, ATCO Sustainable Communities is part of the ATCO Group of Companies. ATCO Group, with more than 8,800 employees and assets of approximately $13 billion, delivers service excellence and innovative business solutions worldwide with leading companies engaged in Structures & Logistics (manufacturing, logistics and noise abatement), Utilities (pipelines, natural gas and electricity transmission and distribution), Energy (power generation, natural gas gathering, processing, storage and liquids extraction) and Technologies (business systems solutions). More information can be found at

Contact Information

  • ATCO Sustainable Communities
    Boris Rassin
    (403) 807-7702