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Okotoks Library celebrates opening of early learning centre

Many community members gathered to check out the new space at the library Tuesday night, which boasts toys and games for young children, computers and a projector that displays a variety of games on the floor.
A toddler plays with multilingual building blocks at the new early learning centre sponsored by Aecon on June 21.

Aecon's Early Learning Centre officially opened in the Arts and Learning Campus Tuesday evening after years of work. 

Children and their parents, representatives from the Town, library and Aecon all gathered to celebrate the new room, which has computers, building blocks and trains, ride-on animals, seating and a projector which displays games on the floor. 

"It's very rewarding," said library board chair Pat Coe. "This many kids are here and they're doing so many different things and they're having fun and that's what we want a library to be." 

The space is also decorated with a mural painted by artist Robin Thibodeau, which depicts the neighbouring Sheep River. 

Acting library manager Sarah Gillie said that a play area for children was something the old library lacked. 

"Three years ago when we learned we would be expanding as part of the arts and learning campus, we knew a dedicated children's play area was at the very top of our list and it was not a want, it was a need," she told the crowd on June 21. 

"We know that the Aecon Early Learning Centre will be the heart of the library for children and families for years to come." 

Lorraine Cathro, fundraising lead for the library board, thanked Aecon for its contribution of more than $27,000 to the space, raised through its 2021 golf tournament. 

"We appreciate their committment to early learning and their support of local community initiatives," she said. 

Michael Derksen senior vice president and executive lead, civil west at Aecon, said when the company was deciding which cause to support through its fundraising, it wanted to pick one where the funds would have a tangible impact.

"We're just extremely proud to have been able to partner with the Okotoks Library," he said. "It's just a fantastic facility and we're just so proud to have our name here, we really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this and part of the community." 


(L-R) Michael Derksen senior vice president and executive lead, civil west at Aecon, library board chair Pat Coe, acting library manager Sarah Gillie, library board fundraising lead Lorraine Cathro and Aecon director of business development Andrew Sears at the opening of the early learning centre on June 21. Lauryn Heintz/


Local artist Robin Thibodeau painted a mural depicting the Sheep River to decorate a large wall that borders the space . Lauryn Heintz/


Children play with the new Obie projector at the Aecon Early Learning Centre in the Arts and Learning campus June 21. The projector displays a variety of games on the floor. . Lauryn Heintz/

Lauryn Heintz

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