With a range of new features, including a new commercial kitchen and theatre space, Magrath residents were out in force on Tuesday night to check out what their school now has to offer.
Teachers like Brent Gilson are looking forward to what all of the new spaces, equipment and technology can offer as learning tools.
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“We’re starting to do poetry in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “So we’re going to have, in the end, a culminating project where kids who want to can present their poetry in more of like a café style [inside the new theatre space].”
The $25 million modernization offers a number of updates educators say will allow students to flourish.
“The opportunities that are available now to the students and the community here in Magrath, I can’t even begin to understand everything that’s available to them now,” Magrath High School Principal Rob Doig said.
Most of the funding comes from the provincial government, with a $2 million investment from the town.
It isn’t only the high school side of the building that is using the changes to its advantage.
“If you go to the area of the elementary school, they’ve jumped a full two feet in with the project-based learning, team-teaching opportunities that just never could have taken place without what has happened here,” Doig said.
Renovations at the school were announced about five years ago and include upgrades to classrooms, the gymnasium, the library, a new commercial kitchen and a theatre space.
“When you look at this school with all kinds of flex space, this gathering area … all of these things were not present in the former school. It was a crazy quilt of additions and modifications. So now we have a really 21st century learning centre and it’s an outstanding facility,” said Westwind School Division Superintendent Ken Sommerfeldt.
“We’re really excited for the kids and the community.”
Teachers like Gilson are excited, too, knowing the sky is the limit for what students in Magrath will be able to put together.
“I think the biggest thing is it gives kids an opportunity to show their talents, that before, most of the time it was just sports,” he said.
The elementary school’s classrooms have changed to partition walls which can be removed for classes to work together.
There is also a variety of seating and furniture in those classrooms including individual desks, communal desks, standing desks and bean bag chairs.
Gilson said the new equipment in the classroom includes the option for technology to play more of a role, with the option for the projectors to connect to phones via Bluetooth and the televisions to have Apple AirPlay.
Other features in the elementary school include a program to read to dogs if they are less comfortable reading out loud and a sensory room for children to gather their thoughts.
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