More than a facelift

Three Oaks con­struc­tion con­tin­ues with $7.3-mil­lion bud­get in­crease

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MILLICENT MCKAY millicent.mckay@jour­nalpioneer.com

Staff and stu­dents at Three Oaks Se­nior High School may not rec­og­nize the build­ing the next time they step in­side the Sum­mer­side fa­cil­ity.

Con­struc­tion to re­vamp the 41-year-old school be­gan in March with a $15-mil­lion bud­get that was set in 2010.

Since then, the bud­get has bal­looned by $7.3 mil­lion due to changes in the value of the Cana­dian dol­lar, the need for as­bestos abate­ment, a com­pet­i­tive con­struc­tion sea­son and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments.

“This isn’t sim­ply a paint job,” said Tyler Richard­son, Prince Ed­ward Is­land’s man­ager of build­ing de­sign and con­struc­tion.

Three Oaks opened in 1976 and was orig­i­nally de­signed for 1,000 stu­dents. Cur­rently there are about 750.

With the con­struc­tion, stu­dents were re­lo­cated into dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the school as work was be­ing com­pleted in each block.

“We’re ba­si­cally mov­ing from the east to the west,” ex­plained Richard­son.

Con­struc­tion started at the bus de­pot en­trance, the MacEwen Road side, and is pro­gress­ing to the main en­trance.

“The locker rooms were th­ese big blocks of space, and they weren’t great for su­per­vi­sion and other things like that, so we’re tak­ing the lock­ers out of there and putting them in the cor­ri­dors now. Now those spa­ces will be used for break-out rooms and meet­ing rooms with win­dows to the cor­ri­dors to re­ally try to in­cor­po­rate nat­u­ral light.” Tyler Richard­son

The first ar­eas for re-con­struc­tion were the 100s block, which mainly housed the English depart­ment as well as the for­mer English Lan­guage School board of­fices and wood­work­ing area.

“It’s about 24,000 square feet. That’s one-eighth of the school. And we’re try­ing to have this area ready by early Septem­ber.”

Right now, the as­bestos from the li­brary is be­ing re­moved be­fore work be­gins to change the lay­out, spac­ing and cor­ri­dors of the area.

Richard­son said the project is about re­pur­pos­ing space.

“The locker rooms were th­ese big blocks of space, and they weren’t great for su­per­vi­sion and other things like that, so we’re tak­ing the lock­ers out of there and putting them in the cor­ri­dors now. Now those spa­ces will be used for break­out rooms and meet­ing rooms with win­dows to the cor­ri­dors to re­ally try to in­cor­po­rate nat­u­ral light.”

The ar­eas that are nearly com­plete in­clude a new black box the­atre, foods and culi­nary labs, as well as a num­ber of break-out rooms, small of­fices for vis­it­ing Pub­lic Schools Branch of­fi­cials and staff from other schools and a meet­ing room.

“A black box the­atre is this nice am­bi­ent feel­ing space where drama stu­dents or peo­ple who want to work in the­atre but not nec­es­sar­ily on the stage will get their chance to ex­pe­ri­ence it first­hand. It will seat around 100 peo­ple and there’ll be change rooms for the cast, a stor­age area for props and ac­cess to a set of wash­rooms,” ex­plained Ger­ald MacCor­mack, a vi­ceprin­ci­pal at the school and site li­ai­son for the school and the work­ers.

An­other ad­di­tion is the new foods and culi­nary labs, which will con­tain five kitch­enette sta­tions, a main in­struc­tors sta­tion with an over­head mir­ror al­low­ing stu­dents to see what is be­ing done, au­to­mated dish­wash­ers, con­vec­tion ovens and walk-in cold, frozen and dry food stor­age ar­eas.

Some other changes in­clude a lev­elled lec­ture hall, re­mov­ing the small desk chairs and mul­ti­ple stairs, al­low­ing for more ac­ces­si­bil­ity as well as a new el­e­va­tor that will meet the re­quired size to fit a stretcher in­side.

There will also be new lay­out for chem­istry, bi­ol­ogy and physics labs as well as new in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion rooms and in­de­pen­dent study ar­eas.

An out­door run­ning track is also be­ing re­fur­bished.

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be com­plete for Jan­uary 2019.

“It’s kind of like you’re mov­ing house. We’re liv­ing in boxes right now. But we know there is a light at the end of the tun­nel and we’re re­ally ex­cited about what this means for the stu­dents at the school,” said MacCor­mack.

MILLICENT MCKAY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Ger­ald MacCor­mack looks over the plan for the Three Oaks Se­nior High School. MacCor­mack is one of the school’s vice-prin­ci­pals.

MILLICENT MCKAY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Ja­son Matthew, left, and Robert Melo pre­pare a sec­tion of Three Oaks Se­nior High School for a new win­dow to be in­stalled.

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