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WCS looking forward to another school year amid construction

Classes begin next week at schools city-wide, including at the Weyburn Comprehensive School, where construction is still well underway.
Weyburn Comprehensive School Art teacher Donna Klein settled into her classroom on August 27 in the new section of the school.

Classes begin next week at schools city-wide, including at the Weyburn Comprehensive School, where construction is still well underway.

"Entrance into our school is limited to the gym doors at the west, B and C doors in the south and the old college entrance on the east, but that's it right now until the north is open," explained Wade Oberg, Principal of WCS. "Most of the students will come in the B, C or the gym doors."

Grade 10 students attending WCS for the first time were told during their orientation to go to the school gymnasium at 9:00 a.m. on September 3 for an assembly and home room assignment.

Development of the parking lot at the north end of the school, for easy access to the Colleen Weimer Hall and Cugnet Centre, will be completed by the end of September. Oberg noted that the staff and students are displaced for parking at the moment. Until the lot is ready, busses at Queen Elizabeth School will be parking stacked seven long and three wide along the east side of the school.

Southeast Regional Cornerstone Public School Division Facilities Manager Andy Dobson said the first phase of construction at WCS is being completed behind schedule.

"We're about three months behind," said Dobson. "By the time contract 1 is totally complete, it should be the end of October."

He said that much of the second phase contract depends upon the completion of the first phase.

"Until they complete block B, and block A, which will be the new day care, we can't move out of the older section and start contract 2," said Dobson. "That's why it's really hard to pinpoint a timeline."

The A doors will be the entrance to the day care and will no longer be an entrance to the school. Until block A is ready, the day care remains in the old building.

Dobson said that the estimated time of completion for block A is mid-September and that block B should be complete by the end of September.

Phase two involves the demolition of the buildings constructed in 1913, 1947 and 1962, which are the red brick sections including the Cafetorium and the old collegiate building.

For now, teachers are back and the building is abuzz with work of all kinds.

"They're trying to finish up the hallways, they are redoing our floors," said Oberg. "So, it's kind of a mess right now."

The facility changes might make things a bit noisy, too, but the school itself has been running as per usual. In fact, according to Oberg, not one single program offered through the school had to be cancelled or postponed due to construction. All that has been required is a little extra tolerance and patience.

"It's been a slow process up to this point," said Oberg. "The students who were here last year and the year before, our grade 11s and 12s, are kind of used to this. My staff has done a very good job of shielding and making sure that education is going on the best we can, (to keep it) status quo."

"I think we did a very good job with academics in our classrooms, to keep things up to speed," he added. "As well, all of our extra-curricular programs are still running."

"We're all working together," he noted. "There have been glitches. There've been issues with heat and there have been issues with noise, so we just battle that as we need to."

Dobson noted that if the students are bothered by the construction noise or dust, the teachers are to inform Mr. Oberg and the construction crew has been good about stopping work and continuing outside of school hours.

Oberg said that looking forward to the end result is what keeps the staff and students working and learning throughout the construction process.

"The pieces of the building that have been completed so far are very nice," he said. "It's going to be a very functional and a very up-to-date facility once we're completed."

In any case, throughout the process, Oberg noted that he is open to feedback from parents.

"Communication is the key," he said. "If there's any issues they've perceived, whether it's about transportation and bussing, or whether it's with the educational process that's happening in the building, they need to make sure that I'm aware of it."