Little White School

LITTLE WHITE SCHOOL, St. Albert, Alberta

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The Little White School, originally known as the Father Jan School, was constructed as early as 1946 and was in operation by at least 1948. It was built on the order of the Alberta government to accommodate a larger student population in St. Albert after WW2. From 1948 to 1957 only grades one and two were taught in the school. In the late 1960s some junior high school classes were taught here and for several years in the late 1970s French Immersion was taught. The building was used until June 1987. The school was purchased by the City and became part of the Musée Héritage Museum in December 1989 when it was officially named the Little White School. The Little White School is associated with the early development of an education system in St. Albert and the St. Albert Catholic School Board. The name of the school is associated with Father Alphonse Jan, O.M.I. (1874-1934) who was parish priest of St. Albert from 1926-1930. The School is an excellent example of a typical two-room ‘rural’ school. Many similar schools were constructed around the province before and after WW2. This is the only original 2-room school that has been protected in Alberta. The design of the school is typical for its time and represents an entity of some significance to the city and the province because very few have been preserved so well. It has become a local landmark as a result of its prominent hillside location, originally known as ‘Seven Hills’.

The Little White School is a Municipal Historic Resource managed by the Arts and Heritage Foundation, which offers curriculum-based educational programs at the School to students in the region. The project, when finished in 2013, is intended to complete the exterior and interior restoration, and to provide universal access to the entire facility. A small addition has been constructed on the north side of the School where it will not visually impinge on the historic south façade. The addition contains a barrier-free lift, providing universal access to both the main floor and the basement. A new barrier-free Family Washroom has been constructed in the basement.


Client: Arts and Heritage Foundation, St. Albert

Architect: David Murray

Structural Engineer: Read Jones Chrisoffersen, Edmonton

Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: SCL Engineering Ltd.

Construction Manager: Delnor Construction Ltd.