Until 1992, DND offered a full education program governed by National Defence Headquarters. In a cost cutting move in the early 1990's, the military turned over operation of schools on the Wing to local school jurisdictions. Over the last 20 years these jurisdictions have gradually built new facilities in the surrounding community and closed their schools on base. In 2009, facing the closure of the last school on the Wing, a number of options were presented in an effort to keep a school presence open. One of the options proposed was to present an 'alternative program' within the public system that would meld existing curriculum with the many science and technology benefits and resources that exist locally. This option formed the basis for the creation of the Art Smith Aviation Academy. The school operated as a public private school that offered an emphasis on our greatest strength, aviation. The school had a population of 107 in the first year. After four years as a private school, ASAA had established itself as a viable alternative program with over 250 students registered in English and French Immersion programs. The school now operates as an 'alternative program school' under Norther Lights Public Schools and now has over 275 students enrolled.