Students relieved to be leaving portables behind
It was impossible to tell who had the biggest smile, the kids, the parents or the staff of the new Spring Creek Elementary School and Ecole La Passerell on the first day of school this week.
"I like it," said Grade 2 student Jessie Roote.
"Its big and its better than the portables."
That was a common sentiment amongst all who gathered to enjoy the first day of school on Monday.
For months the students of Spring Creek have been in the portables at Myrtle Philip School waiting to transfer to the new school.
And students of the Francophone school have been in portables for years.
So it was a relief to finally get into the facility. The official start date of the Spring Creek school was delayed three times as construction events overtook the building deadlines.
However, all of that seemed to be forgotten as students sped through the hallways, faces glowing with excitement at each discovery.
Theres the gym its new amber wood floors so shiny they were hard to look at but not hard to play on.
And theres a science and art room. Thats great news for those who were in the portables where there was no access to water and therefore a limited curriculum in those areas. Now kids can invent and create to their hearts content.
In the near future the hallways will be filled with the sound of music thanks to a dedicated room for the pursuit of symphonies.
And keyboard-savvy students sported ear-splitting grins when they saw Spring Creeks computer lab, with its lines of black PCs standing to attention.
"I like it a lot, especially the computer and the gym," said Grade 3 student Madison Trotter.
"I like all the space on the playgrounds and playing with my friends there."
Trotter and her school friends may have to wait a few more weeks to get access to the full playground as contractors have not finished spreading gravel in the area. It is currently considered unsafe.
"Its cool here," said Grade 2 student Kenny Leigh.
"Its big and the gym is great."
After the kids were delivered to their various classrooms by curious parents many gathered in the new library, which already has thousands of books, to chat and enjoy coffee and treats.
"We are very excited as this new facility is opened," said Spring Creek Parent Advisory Council chair Barb Leigh.
"We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of this community which has helped us out."
Leigh said her kids, Kenny who is in Grade 2 and Robert who is in Grade 4, were both eager to get into the new school.
"They are so thrilled not to be going in and out of the portables anymore and that they will have a controlled temperature environment so now it wont be freezing cold or boiling hot," she said.
With Myrtle Philip elementary school bursting at the seams several grades have had to take classes in the portables for several years.
When it became clear that Spring Creek would not be open for the start of the school year in September it was decided that it would be easier to divide the schools and those students attending Spring Creek would mostly be housed in the portables.
Now that both schools are open the portables will not be used.
The first PAC meeting at the new school will be on Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room.
Every parent is welcome to come and learn more about the PAC and the school.
Leigh said several things are on the agenda including some fundraising issues.
"Desks and chairs have been purchased," she said. "But there will be some shortfalls so we need to find out what those are and organize some fundraising.
"I know a stage and a curtain is an issue too."
Spring Creek is also planning to adopt the Code of Conduct developed over the last year at Myrtle Philip.
But, said Leigh, the school wants to make sure that it reflects the personality of Spring Creek.
While overall everyone at the school was excited by what they saw there were grumblings about the small hooks for storage of coats and backpacks and the fact that in many classrooms there were not enough hooks for the number of kids in the class.
Some parents were also concerned about the lack of parking. On Monday dozens of cars lined Spring Creek Drive as there was no room at the front of the school. One parking lot has been closed temporarily so the area can be used as a playground.
Mom Tina Taylor, while impressed with the new facility did have some doubts about whether building a new school was necessary.
"It is pretty impressive and I can see where all the money went," she said.
"The computer room is pretty phenominal.
"But I wonder if they shouldnt have extended Myrtle Philip. I think they could have spent less money and just made a bigger school.
"But it is a beautiful school and they did make a great job of it."
For the most part though parents were thrilled.
"It is good, and it is exciting," said Susan Schweighardt whose daughters Jessica and Stephanie now go to Spring Creek.
"It looks great. And the move is good because Stephanie was in a portable and that was hard sometimes.
"The teachers have obviously put a lot of love and a lot of time and care into the new school too, so it looks great."
While Schweighardt said her daughters were excited about the new school her older child was sad to leave her friends at Myrtle Philip.
"Its wonderful to have a new school," said Libby McKeever, whose daughter Catelyn is in Grade 6.
"I really like that they have a separate music room and art and science rooms so they can be as messy as they want and do experiments.
"They didnt have water in the portables so a lot of things were limited, so now they will be able to do more in the curriculum."
An added bonus for McKeever is that the family can now walk to school.