Students, teachers help design new Saskatchewan schools

Watch the video above: Designing new Saskatchewan schools

SASKATOON – This past fall, Saskatchewan announced it would be investing in nine new joint-use schools to address the province’s booming population and bursting classrooms.

Saskatoon’s Hampton Village is just one of the neighbourhoods slated for a new school and new details were released this week about the expected design.

Come 2017, a Catholic school will be situated on one side, a public will be on the other and they will be joined together by shared facilities, like a gym and library.

“Lots of outdoor learning, outdoor environments and just lots of open area,” recommended Luke Yakubowski, a grade eight student.

After a week of brainstorming and 140 blueprints to choose from, 11 students identified an open concept as the number one priority necessary for learning.

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Their ideas are reflected in small scale models, to be passed to the design consultant to be incorporated.

“They’ll have a lot of common features but there will be unique things based on the size and shape of the lot in the school so there will certainly be some significant variations,” said Don Morgan, Saskatchewan’s education minister.

Four new schools will be built in Saskatoon, three in Regina, one in Martensville and one in Warman.

All are a public private partnerships and the tender will be bundled as one package, expected to cost about $400 million.

“What happens when you bundle a project is you take small contracts that would be accessible to local contractors and that would be subject to a lot of competition and you role them up into a larger project that now becomes inaccessible to local contractors,” said Mark Cooper, Saskatchewan Construction Association president.

The association is in talks with the provincial government, encouraging a split in the construction of the nine schools, into three separate projects.

Controversy aside, students say the big picture cannot be lost.

“We just need more room and a better way for the kids to learn and achieve their success,” said Yakubowski.

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During the students’ week of brainstorming, a lot of thought was given as to how the neighbourhoods would be able to use the schools as a community space.

The design phase is expected to be complete by June.

Between 6,000 and 8,000 students will attend the elementary schools.

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