The Alberta Department of Agriculture raised the status of the Agricultural and Vocational Colleges at Olds, Vermilion and Fairview in 1963. Before that time the schools had been designed simply as schools of Agriculture to provide rural young people with useful training in scientific agriculture and home economics. Young graduates improved the farming techniques to their own profit. The girls found good employment they would not have aspired to or greatly raised the standard of living in many Peace Country farm homes.
The Fairview School was opened in 1951. A disastrous fire destroyed the gymnasium, the motor, machinery, farm buildings and metalwork laboratories as well as a large classroom and offices. With partial replacement of shops the school reopened in 1960. The school was closed for two years.
Since then the mechanics building and gymnasium have been restored, and a new animal science building, plant science building, farm mechanics building and a most beautiful girls’ residence have been opened. The Alberta Department of Public Works has built a new maintenance shop and new heating plant. Other facilities are in the plans for the future.
A department of Secretarial Arts and Accounting had also been added, and a department of High School Academics for isolated students, or those who want to study in a strictly academic atmosphere.
The professional staff numbering twenty-two in 1973 hold degrees, some if them from international Universities. The new principal, Mr. A.J. Nicol, is a British Columbia man.
The policy of the school is a no-nonsense one, for which acceptability of character and conduct had to be shown, but a wide variety of student activities are fostered.
The Province of Alberta has now accredited the school as a Post-Secondary Educational Institution. Until B.C. establishes schools comparable in scope and specifically geared to Northern Agriculture, Fairview is the answer to those who do not want a University degree. It is the place for those who do believe that recent (1973) set-backs to the Agriculture economy are not permanent and can be overcome by ambitious agriculturists with training in research and practice.