May 20, 2014 6:56 pm

‘Plan B’ for Willowgrove schools as delays impact opening date

Watch above: the opening of two new schools in Saskatoon will be delayed

SASKATOON – School divisions are being forced to move to ‘Plan B’ for the upcoming fall school session since two new schools in Saskatoon’s Willowgrove neighbourhood won’t be ready in time.

Officials say Willowgrove School and Holy Family Catholic School, both slated to open in September, will now open sometime between October and January of 2015.

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“Well a lot of it is the magnitude of the project, it’s a huge project. Then of course here in Saskatchewan, you know we always have the weather contingency,” said Diane Boyko, board chair for Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools.

“We’ve had a late spring so the thaw isn’t out of the ground.”

Contingency plans have come into effect for approximately 300 children registered at each school. In each division, students will be bussed to two different schools depending on their age.

Public school students from kindergarten through to grade three are set to attend Forest Grove School, while students in grades four to eight will go to John G. Egnatoff School.

Catholic school students from kindergarten through to grade three will utilize St. Volodymyr School and grade four to eight students will go to Father Robinson School.

Students will attend class with peers and teachers that will eventually be moved over to the new schools so they can build relationships as their schools are being built.

“We have a number of schools where this has happened in the past. It hasn’t happened recently but it’s not something that’s uncommon and so we’ve been through those transitions and it seems that kids bounce back pretty quick,” said Ray Morrison, board chair for Saskatoon Public Schools.

“They’re more excited about having a new building to be in and explore all those new places and spaces.”

The statement was echoed by Boyko, who says they’ll deal with these delays with positivity.

“The contingency plan is it the ideal? Well, we really hoped we’d be open in September but we’ve opened schools mid-term I guess at other times,” said Boyko.

“We’ve got a really good staff and as I mentioned under the directorship of a great principal and I think we’ll do just fine.”

Morrison added, “as a board, we’re frustrated, we’re very frustrated with this delay but for parents it’s about uprooting their children, moving them to a different school for the fall and then again later on this year and the disruption not only for their children but it disrupts families and their family lives.”

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