Grade 7 and 8 Churchill Public School students will get a little taste of high school starting March 17 thanks to construction work at their school.
They're being temporarily transferred to Lasalle Secondary School, but will be back at Churchill for the new school year in September, when construction is expected to be complete.
Even though they'll be attending school at Lasalle for a few months, Rainbow District School Board director of education Norm Blaseg said the Grade 7 and 8 students will be kept separate from their older peers.
“It'll be like a school within a school,” he said.
“The Grade 7 and 8s have their own entrance. They'll have a section of a floor which is blocked off from the secondary students. They'll have different entry times and exit times and their own busing.
“They shouldn't see that much of a difference in terms of their friends. What they will notice is obviously the facility is changed.”
Churchill Public School hosted a meeting for affected families on Jan. 30. They'll also get a chance to tour the facilities at Lasalle on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. Blaseg said he hasn't heard from any parents who are concerned about the plan.
The board is doing about $4.4 million in construction and repair work at Churchill.
This includes the construction of a new gym — worth $2.1 million alone — and the conversion of the old gym into early learning kindergarten rooms.
With the construction of the new gym, the project's engineer realized that the new structure will cause more wind resistance, and thus the potential for more snow to build up on the roof of the old gym.
To remedy this problem, the board has decided to replace the roof on the old gym. It also decided to replace the roof on the nearby Grade 7 and 8 rooms at the same time, as it needed to be replaced in the next five years anyway.
That's why the Grade 7 and 8s are being moved to Lasalle for a few months. The junior kindergarten to Grade 6 students will not be affected by the construction, as it's possible to seal off that section of the school.
Blaseg said the board is getting the project funds from a number of sources, including leftover money from the recent construction of MacLeod Public School, and government funds for school modernizations and new kindergarten rooms.
“We had the dollars to do it,” he said. “We're excited we can do all of those things at once as opposed to doing it piecemeal.”