Manning students demonstrate Inspiring Education in action - Three Battles Skatepark ground breaking slated for late June

Manning students demonstrate Inspiring Education in action - Three Battles Skatepark ground breaking slated for late June

The dream of ten students from Paul Rowe High School and Manning Elementary School will soon become a reality with the ground breaking of the “Three Battles Skatepark” set to happen later this month.

“The support of the community has been amazing and this would not be possible without the help of so many people”  says Erik Johnson, Three Battles Skatepark Chair.  “It’s crazy to think how much has been accomplished in less than a year. This shows what can happen with hard work and people working together.”

The student driven idea to create a safe place for the community of Manning’s youth to bike and skate was born less than one year ago and took flight through the “Enrichment Class” offered at Paul Rowe High School.

“We asked other students if they were interested in forming a group to see if we could build a park and met  in our Enrichment class and afterschool” says Three Battles Skatepark Vice-Chair Aaron Johnson.

Since September 2013 the group of students from grades five to nine have regularly met during the Enrichment Class and afterschool doing research, writing proposals, creating and giving presentations to organizations, fundraising, designing and planning.
Paul Rowe High School Principal Matt Taylor says the purpose of the Enrichment Class provides students with freedom and opportunity to learn and live the qualities of ethical citizens, engaged thinkers with entrepreneurial spirits – the characteristics that the current transformation of education in Alberta supports.

“We are incredibly proud of the students and all those that have been supporters of the committee and their goals” says Matt. “A big thank you goes to Darla Robinson and Jackie Ristesund who have guided the students along this journey and to our generous and supportive community partners and members.”

The County of Northern Lights and the Town of Manning provided financial support of $50,000 each along with the Town’s donation of land in the northwest area of town. Surerus Pipeline Inc. donated $2500, the Manning Royal Purple donated $1000 and The Manning Youth Centre Association approved a $5000 grant application the committee submitted. Real Arsenault of Manning Diversified Forest Products (MDFP) continues to be instrumental in organizing the land preparation, organization of labour and supplementing funding to ensure the project completion.

In addition, Rosary School donated $1500 raised from hot dog, cookie and cupcake sales and Rhys Lizotte, Peace River High School student donated his services in creating the Three Battles Skatepark T-shirt design.

Darla Robinson, parent supporter and highly involved volunteer on the project echoes the heartwarming response of the school and community.

“It is amazing to see the entire community come together to see their dream become reality” says Darla. “Not only are community members and organizations eagerly stepping to the plate, students from other schools are involved and supportive – it is incredible to see how their passion is bringing people and communities closer together.”

When asked how the committee decided upon the name of the park, Aaron explained there was a lot of research and thought into the name of the park.

“It was important that we celebrate the town’s history in the design of the skate park“ says Aaron. “After all, this park will be here for fifty years or more. We did a lot of research and agreed to design and name the park after the three battles that occurred when the first settlers came to the area.” 

Erik explains the most significant mark in history of the area is battles that occurred between tribes at three different rivers located in the area.  He notes that the park will identify the Notikewin, Hotchkiss and Meikle rivers where the battles occurred by having three sections to the park and the names sandblasted into the concrete by the park designers/ builders.

In addition to the extensive research, proposals and presentation creation, countless hours in committee meetings, fundraising and the extensive planning work of the committee, the students also experienced the process of interviewing and choosing design builders for the project.

“Two skate and bike park design/builders presented their proposals for the park, one from Vancouver and one from Calgary” says Aaron. “We chose to go with Newline Skateparks Inc. from Calgary based on experience, price and availability.”

The committee recently met with Newline Skate Park’s Designer and Construction Forman through an online meeting to discuss final tweaks to the park design and next steps. The final design for the project is expected to be complete within the next week. Soil testing is currently underway and construction is slated to begin in late June or early July. The committee is planning the official Grand Opening Celebration of the Three Battles Skate Park with plans to be announced later this summer.

“On behalf of the Three Battles Skate Park Committee we thank everyone so much for their support and hope you can make it to the Grand Opening” says Erik.

The committee invites the public to follow their progress by joining their facebook page or following them on twitter. Those interested in purchasing a Three Battles Skate Park t-shirt can send a message on their facebook page or by calling Paul Rowe High School at 780-836- 3397.

Top left: Skatepark committee members selling T-shirts at Manning Farmers Market
Top right: Committee members (missing Levi Pharis)
Middle left: Board Chair Darren Kuester, Education Minister Jeff Johnson and Peace River Area MLA Frank Oberle pose with Three Battles T-shirt
Bottom left: Superintendent Bennett, Erik Johnson and Darla Robinson posing with Three Battles Skatepark t-shirt

Three Battles Skate Park Committee members:
Erik Johnson (grade 8), chairperson, Aaron Johnson (grade 9), vice-chairperson, Clay Pharis (grade 8), recorder, and board members (listed alphabetically), Kialer Henitiuk (grade 9), Jason Lambert (grade 9), Calin Lariviere (grade 9), Carter Lawrence (grade 9), Jarod Lorencz (grade 9), Jesse Peterson (grade 9), and Levi Pharis (grade 5 at MES).