Bright in both colour and sunshine, Ashcroft’s new K-12 school is freshly painted and scrubbed, the floors have been waxed, the boxes unpacked (mostly) and ready for the return of students.
The new elementary classrooms are situated close to the main office, bright with primary colours and big windows.
The new K-1 classrooms are connected with shared bathrooms and food prep areas.
The Strong Start and pre-school rooms are also adjacent with their own playground right outside the classrooms.
“It used to be the metal working room,” says principal Colleen Minnabarriet.
The change, she says, is astonishing from what it used to be, a dirty, grimy room, to a clean and spacious area.
She credits the architects for their use of natural light throughout the reconstructed areas.
Retired teacher John Savage worked with senior students last year to refurbish the trades equipment and now woodworking, welding and metal work are all in the same room. It makes sense, she says, to have them together rather than having the teacher run back and forth to different rooms.
The art room was the mechanics room and has space for desks and large equipment.
The high school students have a new common area and just off of it are the grades 6-9 classrooms that make it easier for those students to work on integrated studies.
“We wanted to make sure the high school students felt there was a space for them,” says Minnabarriet. She says she’s been getting requests for a pool table and air hockey.
The library, like the gym, will have a divider so both elementary and high school students can enjoy using the rooms at the same time or alone. Minnabarriet says there will be plenty of opportunity for young and old students to interact, but they also need the time to be with their own classmates.
There is also one spare classroom without a designated use, giving staff a room to play around with.
The favourite part for her, she says, is that it’s a community approach. The student are all right there and if any of them need extra help, it will be easier to spot them and assist them.
“There’s so much empty space in here,” says Minnabarriet, “We were just rattling around.”
She says she’s “Looking forward to the buzz of students” again.