WOLFVILLE, NS – Simple, open concept and conducive to learning – these are some of the words used by staff and students at Wolfville School to describe it’s new look.
The school’s new design was officially unveiled November 21 at a ceremony held in the gym, headed by principal Steve Keddy.
After two years of renovations, a sense of relief was obvious among staff and students, eager to enjoy the school’s new atmosphere.
“Our school has gone through a remarkable transformation,” said Keddy.
Plans to renovate were announced in late 2013 and construction started July 2015.
The province invested $14.6 million in the school’s renovations. The school, which around 300 students attend, was originally built in 1954.
Among its outdated features, Keddy said the school had an unused gun range, mold growing around shower faucets, broken water fountains and an unusable elevator, meaning students unable to use the stairs were limited to classrooms on the school’s first floor.
Now, the school is open and bright, fully accessible and even stylish. It’s a change that teachers, students, parents and school board officials are all happy about.
“The overall upgrades and improvements to classrooms and building systems means our school is well-equipped to meet our students’ learning needs in a modern environment,” said Keddy.
Most notable is the school’s exterior, which received a major facelift. Other new features include a new addition to the school, a new cafeteria, updated gym and library spaces, new parking lot, new special studies rooms, classrooms, and an elevator in working order.
Grade eight students Bianca Wilks and Jaxon Stirling spoke about their favourite changes to the building.
“It’s no longer clustered and crowded… and outside of the building looks more appealing, with the combination of glass and brick looks a lot more modern,” said Stirling
“Our spotless classrooms are spacious and simple. …We’re sure future generations will enjoy the new school as much as we do,” said Wilks.
Keeping up with modern learning
Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill attended the event, and said new and modern facilities – like the improved Wolfville School – are key to updating the education system and classroom conditions, a main focus after the teacher’s strike this past winter.
He highlighted two other government initiatives running this year in Nova Scotia schools - the hiring of 140 teachers to address class caps in every school from grades primary to grade 12 and a province-wide attendance policy mandated by teachers.
Churchill also detailed his goals moving forward in his new position as education minister, which include working with the province to change its currently model of inclusive education, which Churchill calls ‘the unspoken major challenge in the system over the last 20 years.’
“It’s the first time in two decades we’ve been able to have an open and frank conversation about this. We want to have an inclusive education system – not just culturally, but also for students with special needs, or other challenges,” said Churchill.
“This means delivering the best education possible for each and every child. That will really help teachers focus on teaching, rather than classroom management.”