This arrangement seemed to be fine for the population attending the Cochrane School until, as the population increased and roads were being built, it became necessary to have more room. In the late 1940s or early 1950s, a white clapboard sided one-room school was moved onto the property near the Brick School and this little school was used until about 1956. From 1957 to 1961 grades five and six were taught in the “white school” as it was called. It was later moved to the outdoor skating rink in Cochrane’s east end and was used for many years as the rink house.
It was during this time that the number of children in the town was increasing and one-room schools were starting to close so some of the parents of the children and other citizens in Cochrane facilitated the building of a new elementary school on the Main Street site. Many children had to go to Calgary for high school as it was not being taught in Cochrane. These parents succeeded in getting a new school built to house all the students. At this time around 1955-1956, Mr. Grant was teaching grades nine and ten in the basement of the Community Hall. They used the upstairs for their gymnasium.
The new Cochrane Elementary School was built in 1957 and it housed grades one to four. It had six rooms and a gymnasium and grades five and six were housed in the little white school. Grades seven, eight and nine were in the old Brick School and during this time the Cochrane School Board and the parents were working on plans for a larger school. In 1958 there were 250 students in grades one to twelve.
The new Cochrane High School opened for the 1962-63 season and it offered grades nine, ten, eleven and twelve. By 1968-1969 construction began on a new elementary school addition to joining the Cochrane Elementary School. Construction was going along well on the new addition being added to the east end of the elementary school and the contractors had large propane tanks and their new construction area covered with tarps so that the cement would not freeze and work could continue through the colder months. One night a wind got up and blew the tarps onto the propane tanks and a large explosion took place. It did not damage the new building site but managed to move the old Brick School off its foundation. This then proved another problem,
“Where do we put these students?”?
The grade five and six classes were scheduled to move into the Brick School but that could not happen now as the old school had to be dismantled and removed from the site. These classes remained at Cochrane Elementary and in grade seven they were moved up to the High School. It was a scary thing to have to move up to that big school however they had a party at one of the homes where all the kids and a lot of parents gathered. Mr. Sly, a teacher from the High School came and they all got to know each other and support each other during this “BIG” move to the new big school up on the hill.
The new elementary school was completed and officially opened in 1968-1970 with a new name, Andrew Sibbald Elementary School. The school was named after Andrew Sibbald, the first school teacher in Alberta who had come to Morleyville. The school now had a Library, a Science Room, a large double room, new administration offices and new entrances. It looked after students from grades one to six until Manachaban Middle School was opened in 1972. The name Manachaban was also chosen in a contest open to everyone, students, town and surrounding area residents. Manachaban means a hill of bows and arrows and is very fitting for that location.
Shortly after Andrew Sibbald School opened portable classrooms had to be added to the north side for Mrs. Eddie Edge and Mr. Gunn to teach Math. Bruce Davies, Vice Principal and John Edwards taught science, Miss Armstrong, music, Mrs. Nu, Ed Errol and Jim Jenkins, Principal had classrooms in the new wing. The old wing was redecorated and Mrs. Otteson, Mrs. McPherson, Miss Bennett, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Elliot enjoyed the teacher’s lounge, the library and all the other up-to-date facilities.
Many students passed through the doors of Andrew Sibbald Elementary School and the other Cochrane schools before it. More schools have been built as the town has grown adding Elizabeth Barrett, named after the first woman school teacher in Alberta who also came to Morleyville, an addition to Cochrane High School, Glenbow Elementary, Mitford School, Bow Valley High School and St. Timothy High School. Sadly. Andrew Sibbald School closed and was sold to the Catholic School System and is now Holy Spirit School. It is hoped that when a new school is built in Cochrane it will be named after Andrew Sibbald. As Andrew Sibbald taught in this area first it would be a great tribute to our history