Historic Sites of Manitoba: West Kildonan Collegiate (101 Ridgecrest Avenue, Winnipeg)
The original West Kildonan Collegiate Institute (WKCI) occupied a single-storey building at 800 Salter Street, now the Seven Oaks Middle School, in the West Kildonan School District No. 8 (later the Seven Oaks School Division).
Prior to its first opening for classes in November 1953, 285 pupils attended staggered classes at Victory School. The building was opened officially on 24 February 1954 in a ceremony attended by 700 community residents, along with Minister of Education Wallace Conrad “Wally” Miller, Deputy Minister Bernice Scott Bateman, West Kildonan Mayor Arthur Edgar Wright, Chairman of the Municipal and Public Utilities Board David Leopold Mellish, Collegiate Principal John Leamen, Chief Inspector of Schools Clifford Knox Rogers, Chairman of the West Kildonan School Board Lawrence Alberts, contractor A. Bjornson, architect James Thomas Laurance Ward, and Reverend John Rance of St. Martin-in-the-Field Anglican Church.
In 1997, continual enrollment growth necessitated the relocation of the WKCI to 1874 Main Street. The Salter Street building became the home of Seven Oaks Middle School / Ecole Seven Oaks Middle School.
The 1874 Main Street complex consisted of two wings, both former schools: Centennial School and Edmund Partridge School. In 2003, lengthy renovations were begun in the Edmund Partridge Wing and a 45,000 square foot addition was initiated to help meet the demand on the aging facilities. Eleven new classrooms were added, along with other specialty rooms. The Centennial Wing, opened in 1913, was destroyed following the move to the present collegiate location.
In October 2006, construction began on the new collegiate building at 101 Ridgecrest Avenue. On 8 April 2008, the new $20,000,000 school was opened to the approximately 800 students. The 100,000 square foot building hosts grades 9 to 12 and features a large gymnasium with a 400-seat capacity in the stands, specialty classrooms, modern shops facilities, and a track and football field, the latter two of which were not available at the Main Street location. The official opening on 28 April was attended by Education Minister Peter Bjornson and alumni-musician Randy Bachman, whom was honoured with the naming of the school’s spacious 4,000 square-foot, open-air hangout area as the Randy Bachman Commons. The ‘Institute’ portion of the name was discontinued with the its relocation to the Riverview site.
Among the teachers who worked at West Kildonan Collegiate through the years were John Frederick Archibald “Jack” Partridge, Edward Kowalchuk, and Olive Mildred McMahon.
Photos & Coordinates
“W. Kildonan Collegiate to be opened Feb. 24,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 February 1954, page 8.
“West Kildonan charts school-building program,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 February 1954, page 7.
[Photo caption], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 February 1954, page 7.
“Tenders,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 May 1954, page 32.
“New school, additions for St. Vital,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 May 1954, page 3.
“Tenders,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 March 1957, page 32.
“Principal shifting Jan. 1,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 December 1964, page 9.
A Historical Study of Public Education in West Kildonan to 1959 by Raymond Ronald Bailey, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, 1966.
“Students missing school not breaking law - Principal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 November 1971, page 2.
“Asst. super says goodbye,” Winnipeg Free Press Weekly North Edition, 4 December 1988, page 3.
“Principals appointed,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 December 1988, page 49.
“Seven Oaks joins school hockey league,” Free Press Weekly, 19 March 1989 North Edition, page 2.
“Just enjoy the day, high school grads,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 June 1998, page B5.
“Schools switch back to old names,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 September 2000, page A4.
“Renovations to rejuvenate West Kildonan Collegiate,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 April 2003, page W7.
“Collegiate construction,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 October 2006, page B3.
“Trustees dig into surplus to free tax,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 March 2007, page A8.
“West K. Collegiate to open in early 2008,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 September 2007, page A7.
“Classroom management,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 2007, page F4.
“Posh digs for West K students,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 April 2008, page B1.
“Takin’ care of school business,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 April 2008, page A2.
Obituary [Peter Isaak], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 October 2019.
We thank Rose Kuzina, Gordon Goldsborough, and Karen Guenther for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 8 August 2021