The re-arranging of School District 70 is almost complete, says superintendent Greg Smyth.
The district began reorganizing as soon as classes were finished last June, to accommodate the closure of Gill Elementary and Eighth Avenue Elementary and the transition of both EJ Dunn and AW Neill middle schools to K-7 elementary schools.
“The Eighth Avenue Learning Centre is going to be the home to all our alternate programs,” said Smyth.
Two programs have already made the jump: the district’s distributed-learning Choices program and the adult education program.
The VAST program should be relocated to Eighth by January 2016, Smyth added, with the idea being to stop leasing the Redford Street building where VAST is now.
“Eventually, Eighth Avenue will be a consolidation of all our alternate programs,” said Smyth.
“That will fill up the building.”
Eighth Avenue has already had its classrooms modified for older students but it may keep its playground, said Smyth. Hummingbird Daycare, currently located at Wood Elementary and home to SD70’s teen mom program, has been offered the opportunity to relocate to Eighth Avenue.
Continue / A23
“It would be right on site with teen moms,” said Smyth.
“So we’ve left the playground there on the assumption that there would be kids there at some point.”
But that doesn’t mean the students at E.J. Dunn—who moved from Eighth Avenue—won’t have a new structure to play on.
“We’re looking at exploring alternatives to a playground structure,” said Smyth.
“There’s a huge move towards outdoor, natural-scape playgrounds so rather than building something with monkey bars and everything else we’re looking at a way we can build a more natural based one.”
The Kiwanis Hilton Centre is an example of such a playground, said Smyth.
“They took out their playground and put dirt and stumps and rocks and all that for kids to play on.”
The other issue with moving the playground from Eighth Avenue to E.J. Dunn is logistics.
“Quite honestly, when you take apart something and try to put it back together, it doesn’t always go back together so well,” said Smyth.
“We did relocate the one from Gill Elementary [to AW Neill] and it was a bit of a pain to do that.”
Gill, which also closed its doors in June, will remain as school district storage for the time being.
“It’s still surplus to our needs and we’ll be exploring avenues to dispose of it—sell it, lease it, rent it or whatever.”