Education Minister Dustin Duncan joined students, staff and representatives of South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) and the Mayor of Weyburn, Marcel Roy, to celebrate Education Week and the grand opening of the new Legacy Park Elementary School.
Choirs from Grade 3 and Grade 6 also performed, with a special connection to the sod-turning ceremony held three years to begin the process of building this new school.
"This is an exciting day for the City of Weyburn as we join together to celebrate the opening of this beautiful new school and child care centre," Duncan said.
Addressing the group of Grade 3 children gathered to sing during the program, Duncan said, “Today, we’re giving you a brand new school – but it’s just a building. What’s inside the building, the discoveries, the curiosity, the laughter and the friendships … you are the heartbeat of this place, that comes from you. As the first class that walks through the doors, you will set the tone for yourself and for the students who will follow you. I know and trust you are up to the task.”
The new facility was built as a joint partnership with the City of Weyburn and includes a new Pre-kindergarten to Grade 6 school, child care facility and a community recreation centre. The Government of Saskatchewan invested $33.7 million into the school and child care portions of the building. The Credit Union Spark Centre was officially opened on Saturday with a full day of activities.
Legacy Park Elementary School is built on the site of the former Weyburn Junior High School, which closed in 2016. The nearly 7,500-square-foot facility is about half the size of an official NHL hockey rink, accommodating up to 750 students from Pre-kindergarten to Grade 6. It features state-of-the art new classrooms, a full-sized gymnasium, a resource/media centre and a large common space with a performance stage and amphitheatre seating.
The Grade 3 students sang “Heart to Heart”, the same song that the Grade 3 class of the day sang at the sod-turning, while the current Grade 6 class (who were the original class to sing three years ago) sang the song, “Lead the Way”, to end the program prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony.
This joint-venture facility consolidates Queen Elizabeth, Haig and Souris elementary schools. It incorporates the culture and identity of all three student bodies, including three new commemorative benches and a playground featuring pieces from each of the three former schools.
"This new state-of-the-art facility will offer a quality learning environment with excellent programming to ensure success and achievement for students in this school, consisting principally of students welcomed last month from Haig, Queen Elizabeth and Souris schools," SECPSD Board of Education chair Audrey Trombley said.
She noted the school renewal plans for Weyburn’s schools actually began in 2005 when the seven former school districts amalgamated to become the Southeast Cornerstone School Division, and their first job was to complete the renovations to the Weyburn Comprehensive School and build the Cugnet Centre.
Mayor Marcel Roy talked about his mother, who went to school in a one-room schoolhouse, and then later was a teacher in a one-room school at Griffin up until the small schools were amalgamated in the 1950s into larger school divisions.
That school in Griffin had Grades 1-12 all in one classroom, he said, noting it is much different today for the students of Legacy Park, who have a state-of-the-art facility to learn in.
“No more does a student have to get up early to light the fire. It’s all here, you have such a wonderful school compared to what we had 100 years ago,” he said.
Becky Chapman spoke on behalf of the school-community councils that represented the founding schools of Haig, Souris and Queen Elizabeth.
“I would like to say how excited we are to be a part of Legacy Park Elementary School. The three schools I’m representing today are schools that have been inspiring and empowering learning in the community for over a century. These schools shared values in learning, creativity and the importance of teaching our children to dream big,” she said. “We look forward to all of the adventures this new school community will being, and look forward to watching our new school community grow.”
The new Legacy Park Early Learning Centre day care has 51 spaces, which is able to accommodate six infants, 15 toddlers and 30 preschool-aged children.
The school's front entrance connects to the Credit Union Spark Centre, owned and operated by the City of Weyburn. This centre includes an indoor turf field, outdoor ice surface, small art gallery, pottery studio, indoor play structure, multi-purpose rooms, simulators and a walking track on the second level.