College Park School pulled out all the stops for its grand opening on Tuesday afternoon.
The event, which lasted around two hours, featured a performance from the school choir and a video display, in addition to speeches from Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke, Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young and Mayor Rob Saunders, before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“The physical facility itself is really inviting, it’s open, it’s airy, it’s a lot of natural light coming in, a lot of flexible spaces that we can move kids around and learn in different environments,” said principal Dave McLennan.
The new Lloydminster Public School Division (LPSD) state-of-the-art school teaches pre-kindergarten to Grade 9. It officially opened in December, following construction delays that pushed the project back.
“We were coming from four different schools at the beginning of the year and we came in and it was inside of three days that it just felt like home,” McLennan said. “You would talk to (students) in the hallways and it was like they could just stretch and breathe and expand and it was really, really cool.”
The grand opening was a particularly sweet moment for Young, who played a major role in getting the project approved as the LPSD chair at the time. She was present for the ground-breaking two and a half years ago.
“We knew that it was going to be different than all of our other schools in our community and it was an opportunity to be a leader in designing a building that students felt every day when they came that it was bright and open and welcoming and a safe place to come to,” she said.
Indeed, College Park School is a leader, as it is certified as a LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) school. The building incorporates many environmentally-friendly and cost-effective features, including a solarwall in the gym that will help heat the facility during the colder months, and translucent wall panels that will reduce heat caused by direct sunlight in the warmer months.
“The other thing that I feel so strongly about is the attractive entrance,” said LPSD board of education chair David Thompson. “That has a psychological effect on students when they come, and on parents.
“It just gives you a feeling that this is an inviting place.”
Approximately 550 students currently attend College Park School, which cost around $29.5 million to build. It is Lloydminster’s only kindergarten to Grade 9 school.
College Park School is divided into five learning pods, including a play space for kids in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, student support rooms and break-out areas.
The building also has a theatre and music room that will be used by students, as well as 95-space daycare open to the community.