Students at Trinity Christian return to newly renovated space

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PHOTO COURTESY OF TRINITY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL: Teacher Jennifer Munton shows Grade 1 students the new small gym. The Eagle mascot was painted by Jeff Logan.

Official ribbon cutting planned Sept. 30

When about 430 students return to class Tuesday at Trinity Christian School in Calgary, their excitement will be as much about what they don’t see at school as what they do.

Of course, they’ll be seeing their caring teachers, support staff and friends. Gone are most of the construction workers, the drywall dust and the noise associated with a major renovation last school year.

For Principal Michelle Duimel, some of the excitement related to completion of the $3.7-million expansion project is in seeing how thoughtful planning and brainstorming by staff resulted in every program, service and grade having its own functional space.

“I’m so pleased with it all,” she said, strolling through the halls on Friday, during the calm before the storm of students returning.

At the time, some of the spaces were still full of buckets, boxes and equipment as final touches were being made. All of that should be gone Tuesday, leaving students wide, spacious hallways featuring benches, tables or cozy reading nooks. On the main floor, sunlight streams through the new library into a window-lined hallway. Some of the library furniture will arrive later this month.

Staff of the society, which spent years raising money for the renovation, have moved into their new offices on the main floor.

Down the hall from the staff room, also on the main floor, a fine arts wing has taken shape for music and drama. The school’s music academy – through which students can access private piano, percussion, guitar and voice lessons as part of their school day – has two sound-treated rooms. The school’s Spanish class, which once had a nomadic existence, now has a permanent home.

Best of all, Duimel said, many of the new spaces are also flexible. In the new library, for instance, the bookshelves are on rollers. They can easily be moved to one side to make space for collaboration.

Where the old library and a classroom stood, the school now has a new, small gym, perfect for skill development for up-and-coming Eagles, or for community meetings of under 100.

The addition of space on the second floor and a widening of the main stairwell created a natural flow for the some 200 students on that level, she said. The second-level was once home to several businesses which leased space in the building.

“We went with neutral colour on the walls, but we will have punches of colour on the bulletin boards and furniture,” Duimel said. The halls are wide enough for students to gather.

“We wanted spaces for them to sit and read or do partner work,” she said. “Everyone has their own area, and there’s a natural flow to the school.”

Trinity students will start the new school year with an opening day chapel in the main gym and a Cobs and Dogs celebration lunch.

An official ribbon cutting event is planned at 12:30 p.m., Sept. 30, giving families and former students an opportunity to see the newly expanded school.