Students at one Prince Edward Island elementary school spent Wednesday adjusting to the first day of a new academic year — in the midst of a major construction project that will eventually result in a net-zero-ready school.
Construction began over the summer on the site of the existing Sherwood Elementary School in Charlottetown.
Principal Parker Grimmer says some creative thinking has been needed to keep the current school running with construction happening in the background.
"For the next couple of years, we'll have a little bit less space," he said.
"We've had to make some decisions around where kids are going to play and how those spaces are going to be used."
For one thing, the school's two mobile classrooms were moved from the back of the building to the front.
The area at the front of the school where students are dropped off and picked up will also be used differently. During the day, it will be blocked off and used as a play space. It's large enough to accommodate only half the school's population at once, but Grimmer is positive it will work out.
"We'll have half our students out for a half-hour block and then another half of students," he said. "So that's more supervision, but it ensures there's more play space for our students. It's all very well thought-out."
New building to open in 2024
After years of talking about replacing the aging Sherwood School, construction began in July. The new, net-zero-ready building is expected to be completed in time for the 2024 school year.
Nicholas McCormack, a parent at the school, said he was impressed with the efforts to keep students and staff safe.
"Construction here of the new school is fairly quiet, and they seem to have everything under wraps, under control, and very well organized," he said.
Grimmer said the construction project will be a learning experience for school officials, and they will continue to adjust their course along the way.
"We are so supportive of the work that's happening," he said. "We know there'll be some challenging situations we'll find our way through, and it'll all be worth it."