After four months of setbacks, students were finally able to enter the newest school in Lloydminster last week.
College Park School was opened to students starting Tuesday, Dec. 2.
David McLennan, principal of College Park, said that the new school is open and it has been a hectic week for students and teachers alike.
“We have a lot of parents who want to see the new school, and we have a lot of people coming and going the first week,” he said. “But, actually it went very smoothly, compared to how it could have gone, I guess.”
McLennan said that the move into the new school was a big scramble.
“We were moving four schools into one school,” he said “We worked really hard over the four-day weekend, but we were ready to go (last Tuesday morning), and virtually every classroom that I have visited in the last couple of days, the kids are really super excited to be in the new school and being here.”
Currently, students number in the 525 range, according to McLennan.
Karli Tluchak, a Grade 5 student at College Park, said that moving into the new school has been overwhelming, but having her classmates and friends with her from Barr Colony Elementary School has made the transition much easier.
“I’m with pretty much all of my friends,” she said, adding that it has made the transition from her old school much easier.
Tluchak said that the new school is much different from her previous school.
“It’s a really awesome school,” she said. “It’s roomy and lots of light in the classroom. It’s also definitely bigger than my pervious school.”
While students are learning the new layout of College Park, McLennan is also getting up to speed on the students who he wasn’t interacting with on a daily basis for the last three months.
“I was at Martin Browne School, which was the K-3 students, which was a strategic plan. Students coming into a school at that age need their principal, and they need to have their principal,” he said.
“I was able to establish that relationship with those students in the first few months.”
He added that it was a bonus to have those grades at Martin Browne.
“I really could focus on the K-3 students, and now they all know me. If they are walking down the hallways, I’m not some stranger.”
Getting to know the senior grades, grades 4 to 9, has been somewhat of a task for McLennan, but he said that he made an effort to make trips to the other schools in the last four months to meet with those grades before entering the school on Tuesday.
“I made sure that I was at the other schools on a weekly basis, and I made sure that I touched base with the other students on that basis as well,” he said.
“Moving into College Park and going to those classes now, I have found it a pleasant surprise that I know more of the kids than I thought I would, more than just on a simplistic level.”
McLennan said that he can have conversations with students in higher grades at College Park.
Asked why the students were brought in before the winter break and not until after the Christmas holidays, McLennan said that there were two reasons behind it.
“There are two things that are going on when you move into a new facility. There is going to be some issues from security to wiring to plumbing,” he said.
“What we wanted to do is get into the new facility before Christmas and iron out all those kinks, so in January when we come back we are good to go,”
He said that he is opposed to coming into the new school at the beginning of the new year and ironing them out then.
During a walk through, McLennan said that the services of the new school outpace the other schools in the division.
“It’s quite different. The building itself, we are talking about even since the last building that we built, which was Jack Kemp, there has been significant advancements in technology that College Park is capitalizing on in this building.”
McLennan said that the new heating system in the school is all in-floor heating, the cooling system is also in-floor.
“The air exchange capacity in this school is more compared to other schools,” he said.
McLennan added that all of the wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling is tied into one unit.
“So in that capacity, it’s a new school with new technology.”
Both McLennan and school officials said that the completion of the school is in the high 90 per cent range.