New school – new design unveiled for parents

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Group 2 Architecture Interior Design architect Bill Saul explains the school site during the Nov. 8 open house. – Lucie Roy Photos

by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent

Sturgeon School Division held an Open House Nov. 8 on the new Grade 5 to 9 public school that they are building in Morinville.

The Open House at Morinville Public School included a presentation by Group 2 Architecture Interior Design architect Bill Saul. It was an opportunity to learn about the location, planning, design and community consultation.

The new – still unnamed – public school, with a conceptual canopy entrance, is to be located at Grandin Heights. It would have the capacity for 600 students and is planned to open January 2019 if all goes well. The construction phase is scheduled for August 2017 through to November 2018 with a commissioning and facilities move in for November. The school is to be built in two phases, with a capacity for 600 students and a build out for 400 students for high school. The second phase would be built when it is warranted.

Buzz words included Learning communities, learning commons, learning resource center, flexible space agora, teaching stations and non-instructional area. Learning Commons would be an open space centered on and accessible from five classrooms clustered around it with a teacher pod. This educational space would have a teacher collaboration zone at critical locations, including a sentry post. Teachers could see the students through the windows as per a passive surveillance. The new school and new design focuses on 21st Century learners with a focus on ethical citizens, engaged thinkers, and entrepreneurial spirit. This would encompass inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, and collaborative learning. This learning environment would be flexible, visible and have variety and control as the students engage in group work and less of the classroom environment.

In the preliminary plans, there would be much visibility in all areas of the school, with many bright and airy spaces and the roof would also allow for natural light to flood in. There would be a bold use of colour, both inside and outside the school with beautiful signage and a unique school branding would combine to make it a memorable sense of place.

The gym would not be as per those commonly seen in older schools; windows would be installed to see into the gym. Also discussed was a culinary foods life skills kitchen, construction tech workshop, a high-tech and low-tech maker space, and dance, music and band space. There are also plans for space for fine arts and drama, and collapsible push back and pullout bleacher style theater seats. Additional items include an outdoor classroom, gardens, and plant walls.

Some of the designs presented at the meeting are still subject to change as the design team continues to work.

During the question session, concerns were expressed by parents as to what the washrooms and the shower facilities would look like.

For the 2017-18 school years, the School Division is looking at acquiring three more modular at their current location.

Superintendent Michele Dick said the school is comfortable for next year but after that remains uncertain.”

The Division is still working on the details of the new school before posting online, and those with questions or concerns are to contact the Sturgeon School Division website with their questions or concerns.

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