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Community checks out Hantsport School’s renovation


HANTSPORT - During a ceremony on May 26, the Hantsport School, which has been undergoing renovations since 2013, was officially revealed to members of the community.

Politicians, administrators, teachers, community members and, of course, the students were in attendance, where a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the occasion.

Provincial Education Minister Karen Casey said the updated building means teachers will have the resources necessary for a 21st Century education.

“It’s important that the teachers have the resources and the facility in order to deliver their curriculum more effectively,” Casey said during a tour of the building. “Not that you can’t have good teaching and learning in old buildings, but this certainly lends itself more readily to that.”

Casey said 44 schools were on a list for additions, alterations and renovations when she became minister in 2013, including Hantsport School.

“We set it as a priority to complete those projects,” she said. “We’re down to three that are remaining. We have done a lot of renovations to a lot of schools in a lot of communities.”

At the same time, schools across the province have closed or have been slated for potential closure, including 17 in Cape Breton alone.

Casey said those closures are determined by the governing school boards.

“They have to assess all of the buildings they have, look at their populations and determine which schools they need to deliver that program to the student body they have,” she said.

“It’s always a tough process, but we’ve made arrangements within our review policy for parents to be very involved with that,” she said.

“It can be emotional, but boards need to look at how they can best deliver the program.”

Casey said the provincial government made a commitment to improve the Hantsport School after the AVRSB identified that they wanted to continue operating the building, but it needed upgrades.

“We have a practically new school in this community that will serve Hantsport and area very well,” she said.

Casey said the renovations of the school, which were originally announced in 2009, did take longer than expected.

“We’ve been trying to ensure that doesn’t continue,” she said. “That’s why we haven’t announced a lot of new projects because we want to finish the ones that have already been announced.”

The Hantsport School was originally constructed in 1961. Students from Grades primary to 8 attend the school.

Luc Sangster, a student at Hantsport School, was in Grade 6 when the renovations began and now that he’s almost done Grade 8, they’re finally wrapping up.

“It feels great because the workers were making a lot of noise, but they were really cool guys, we got to talk to them a lot,” Sangster said. “We can focus in class better now.”

Sangster said the school looks and feels better than it did previously.

“All of the new technology we have access to adds a lot to the classroom,” he said. “When we have homework, they can just post it on Google Classroom and then we just do it at home.”

Jamie Stevens, a French and English teacher at the school, said the upgrades make a difference in the classroom

“My mom went to this school 55 years ago — part of the first class that went here,” Stevens said. “It’s amazing to see it come online, especially with all of the new technology.”

Stevens said all middle school students now have access to Chromebooks — laptops using Google software.

“As a language teacher, it gives me access to a world’s worth of materials, both in French and English,” he said. “We don’t live in a francophone environment so it allows me to access stuff from that world right at the touch of a button.”

Robbie Zwicker, the West Hants councillor for the community and the former mayor of Hantsport, said he’s happy to see the renovations complete.

“The school is a cornerstone of the community and having these renovations, it’s almost like a new school,” Zwicker said. “It’s going to be a foundation of our community for years to come.”

Zwicker, a former student of the school, said he was part of the last Grade 11 graduating class in 1989. There were only 11 graduates that year.

“Now young families can look at the former town of Hantsport and say ‘what a wonderful place to live with a wonderful new school,’” he said. “It’s another apple in Hantsport’s eye.”

 

Did you know?

Costs to renovate the Hantsport School totaled $4.5 million in three phases. Upgrades included: updated classrooms, new technology including computers, a new elevator, mechanical, electrical and ventilation systems.

Politicians, administrators, teachers, community members and, of course, the students were in attendance, where a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the occasion.

Provincial Education Minister Karen Casey said the updated building means teachers will have the resources necessary for a 21st Century education.

“It’s important that the teachers have the resources and the facility in order to deliver their curriculum more effectively,” Casey said during a tour of the building. “Not that you can’t have good teaching and learning in old buildings, but this certainly lends itself more readily to that.”

Casey said 44 schools were on a list for additions, alterations and renovations when she became minister in 2013, including Hantsport School.

“We set it as a priority to complete those projects,” she said. “We’re down to three that are remaining. We have done a lot of renovations to a lot of schools in a lot of communities.”

At the same time, schools across the province have closed or have been slated for potential closure, including 17 in Cape Breton alone.

Casey said those closures are determined by the governing school boards.

“They have to assess all of the buildings they have, look at their populations and determine which schools they need to deliver that program to the student body they have,” she said.

“It’s always a tough process, but we’ve made arrangements within our review policy for parents to be very involved with that,” she said.

“It can be emotional, but boards need to look at how they can best deliver the program.”

Casey said the provincial government made a commitment to improve the Hantsport School after the AVRSB identified that they wanted to continue operating the building, but it needed upgrades.

“We have a practically new school in this community that will serve Hantsport and area very well,” she said.

Casey said the renovations of the school, which were originally announced in 2009, did take longer than expected.

“We’ve been trying to ensure that doesn’t continue,” she said. “That’s why we haven’t announced a lot of new projects because we want to finish the ones that have already been announced.”

The Hantsport School was originally constructed in 1961. Students from Grades primary to 8 attend the school.

Luc Sangster, a student at Hantsport School, was in Grade 6 when the renovations began and now that he’s almost done Grade 8, they’re finally wrapping up.

“It feels great because the workers were making a lot of noise, but they were really cool guys, we got to talk to them a lot,” Sangster said. “We can focus in class better now.”

Sangster said the school looks and feels better than it did previously.

“All of the new technology we have access to adds a lot to the classroom,” he said. “When we have homework, they can just post it on Google Classroom and then we just do it at home.”

Jamie Stevens, a French and English teacher at the school, said the upgrades make a difference in the classroom

“My mom went to this school 55 years ago — part of the first class that went here,” Stevens said. “It’s amazing to see it come online, especially with all of the new technology.”

Stevens said all middle school students now have access to Chromebooks — laptops using Google software.

“As a language teacher, it gives me access to a world’s worth of materials, both in French and English,” he said. “We don’t live in a francophone environment so it allows me to access stuff from that world right at the touch of a button.”

Robbie Zwicker, the West Hants councillor for the community and the former mayor of Hantsport, said he’s happy to see the renovations complete.

“The school is a cornerstone of the community and having these renovations, it’s almost like a new school,” Zwicker said. “It’s going to be a foundation of our community for years to come.”

Zwicker, a former student of the school, said he was part of the last Grade 11 graduating class in 1989. There were only 11 graduates that year.

“Now young families can look at the former town of Hantsport and say ‘what a wonderful place to live with a wonderful new school,’” he said. “It’s another apple in Hantsport’s eye.”

 

Did you know?

Costs to renovate the Hantsport School totaled $4.5 million in three phases. Upgrades included: updated classrooms, new technology including computers, a new elevator, mechanical, electrical and ventilation systems.

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