Watch above: school construction delays mean different learning environments for students
SASKATOON – Construction crews are working hard so that Holy Cross High School will be ready for students on Tuesday, according to a Greater Saskatoon Catholic School superintendent.
“There’s lots of touch up painting going on, there’s some ceiling tile being put into place,” said John McAuliffe, the school division’s superintendent of education facilities.
“Right behind us, at this doorway, there’s grouting going onto new tile,” said McAuliffe, while gesturing to the new entrance that he said will be open for students on Tuesday, the first day of class.
Saskatoon’s largest Catholic high school has been going through a roughly $21-million renovation process. A new student common area has been completed, as well as an industrial arts classroom. However, a new gym is still under construction and will not be in use at the start of the school year.
Renovations went on throughout the 2013-2014 academic year; those enrolled at Holy Cross made their way through cramped and noisy hallways on a daily basis.
“Definitely the first semester it was distracting to listen to all the jack hammers and hammers in class,” said Gavin King, who graduated from the high school last year.
“It was white noise after awhile.”
McAullife assured that “there will be a huge difference between last year and this year” for students, even though some areas of the building will continue to be blocked off.
“The inconvenience isn’t going to be what it was,” explained McAullife, who added that major construction could be wrapped up by the end of the year.
“At the end of the day they’re going to see a product, I would say, most, if not all students will say, that was worth it,” he added.
Construction at two elementary schools in Saskatoon’s new Willowgrove neighbourhood have forced officials to re-route students to nearby schools until the new facilities are complete.
“Because Willowgrove is not open, as disappointed as I am, we had to implement a contingency plan,” said Ray Morrison, chair of Saskatoon public schools.
Students enrolled at Willowgrove School will be transported to Ecole Forest Grove School and Dr. John G. Egnatoff School. Those slated to attend Holy Family will start their year at Father Robinson and St. Volodymyr School.
Students enrolled in the uncompleted schools will have the same classmates and teachers that they will have once they move into their new facility. Both school boards hope the buildings will be able to accommodate children by January.
“For some young people, transitions are hard,” said Morrison, who noted that the school board had been in contact with parents affected since last February.
“We think that by connecting those students with their teacher and building those linkages so the teacher can get to know the students, the students can get to know each other, that they’ll operate as a class and hopefully on January 5th they’ll just go to a new building.”