New school construction projects in Flin Flon are underway, but some will not be finished before students fill the hallways.
“[There are] a lot of projects going on, and a lot of them are ongoing still,” said Constance McLeese, superintendent for the Flin Flon School Division.
Renovation projects are continuing throughout the division, centered mostly on Ruth Betts Community School. The school’s roof is still undergoing construction and is expected to be complete by Sept. 20. Work will continue on the school’s phone system, which is expected to be completed by early October.
“Ideally, we’ll be finished as much as possible before school starts, but the gym area may not be available for a couple of weeks – that’s the last bit of the roof they’re working on,” said McLeese.
Elsewhere in the school, cabling and internet upgrades have been completed.
“We should have much faster internet access,” said McLeese.
Similar fixes to École McIsaac School will be coming within the next year.
“This year, we were hoping to get McIsaac and Ruth Betts done, but there’s always a difficulty with living in the north of actually finding the manpower to do it. It’ll be Ruth Betts that will be up to standard soon, while McIsaac will be done next year,” said McLeese, who added that “fairly major” roof repairs will be done at McIsaac and Hapnot before the 2019-20 school year.
“We’re hoping that the contractors realize that snow can fly in October here, so there may be, on the worst parts of those roofs, some fixes.”
At Hapnot, the main construction project has taken place inside the school’s shop space, the TVI building. Classrooms are currently under construction inside the large, garage-like building, located in the former parking lot space next to the school. The new class spaces will be ready for the end of September.
Also, internet and communications around the division will improve, thanks to the replacement of radio tower units at Hapnot Collegiate. The towers transmit internet signals from Hapnot to the other sites maintained by the school division.
“At Hapnot, we have fibre optics that are underground, so they have fairly fast internet speed. The tower radios were quite elderly and not as fast as they should be,” said McLeese at the Aug. 28 school board meeting.
“Now they are replaced and they are young and spry.”
Classes at Flin Flon schools begin on Sept. 5.
On the Saskatchewan side, most of Creighton Community School’s planned changes are finished and ready for the first bell to ring.
Most of the changes for the school are happening behind the scenes with administration. Patty Korchinski will serve as the school’s new principal, with the former Hapnot Collegiate teacher and vice-principal replacing Janel Pearson. Change is also well underway for the Creighton School Division, with longtime school administrator Blaine Veitch stepping down as division director. The former Flin Flon School Division superintendent will hand off the reins to former Creighton school teacher and vice-principal Vincent Cable.
“Blaine is still sticking around for a little bit here and he’ll be officially done at a later date,” said Cable.
“He’s pretty much officially retired, but we still have a little bit of transition time.”
Cable had originally planned to leave Creighton and move to the Yukon, where his wife had accepted a job. After applying for the director job and being offered the position, plans changed for the Cables.
As far as construction goes, the school has finished its own phone upgrades, along with having a new playground structure installed in the spring.
Four new teachers will join the school, with three joining the school from Flin Flon. The fourth teacher, originally from Saskatoon, has relatives living in the area, said Cable.
One new program announced by Cable involves mentors with the school. Cable said a mentor will be heading to Denare Beach weekly to hold children’s book readings with parents and pre-Kindergarten students in the village.
“It will be about one day a week or so. We have some books out there that help build up a language base,” he said.
Classes in Creighton began on Sept. 4.
– with files from Cynthia Bigrigg