Stoney Creek’s new Eastdale school a window into student learning and beyond

News Jan 06, 2020 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

The name and location remain the same, but little else about Stoney Creek’s new Eastdale Elementary School is déjà vu.

For starters, there are windows everywhere — looking outside, of course, perhaps most notably to the sky in a section of the second-floor hallway, but also into the main office and classrooms.

While the latter wall-sized windows may afford less privacy, they make it easier for teachers to keep an eye on common areas in the hallways designated for group activities.

Reflecting its 564-student capacity — up from the former Eastdale’s 219 — the new school also has a bigger, double-court gym, with a stage connected to a music room at the back.

“It’s bright and it’s welcoming and there’s space,” principal Richelle Bratuz said as she stood outside, welcoming students for the first day of classes on Monday morning.

“It’s been thrilling. I’ve done this for 25-plus years and been into new schools across the board, but it’s been very exciting. A lot of love has been put into this building.”

Eastdale is the first new public elementary school in the area in more than five decades, part of an accommodation plan that is also rebuilding Memorial and expanding Collegiate Avenue, although the latter project is being held up by the Province.

In return, Green Acres, R.L. Hyslop and Mountain View are set to close. Eastdale’s current 530 enrolment includes 350 students from Mountain View and 180 from Collegiate’s catchment who were temporarily relocated to Green Acres after Collegiate closed last June in anticipation of work there beginning over the summer.

About 200 students remain at Mountain View and will shift to the new Memorial when it opens next year.

Lower Stoney Creek’s superintendent, Jeff Gillies, said he’s impressed builder Pre-Eng Contracting Ltd. managed to ready Eastdale for the start of the second semester given work only began in December 2018, delayed by cost overruns.

The Ministry of Education provided $11.75 million for construction, but the school board required permission to use an extra $1.4 million of its own money from the sale of school properties to complete the project.

Gillies said work will continue in the evenings and on weekends on some finishing touches, including completing the learning commons, or library, and fixing more minor cosmetic deficiencies.

Sod for the torn-up playing field outside, currently fenced and off limits, is scheduled to be laid in the spring, he said.

“It’s definitely going to be nice for the community in terms of rental space, whether it’s the learning commons or the gymnasium. It will be a big plus,” Gillies said.

Stoney Creek trustee Cam Galindo said he’s also impressed Eastdale was able to meet its January opening target, especially after a roof fire in September threatened to stall progress.

He credited staff and volunteers on a transition committee for “a smooth ride for today’s opening.”

“It’s a good start to the new year,” Galindo said. “When you talk about modern class learning facilities, this is it.”

Christine van Egmond, who sat on both the accommodation review and transition committees, said it’s rewarding to see the results of “quite a process” in getting the new school built.

Her only regret is that her daughter, Erin, is now in Grade 8 and will only be there until the end of June.

“I live across the street from the school, so we’ve literally been able to watch it from tearing it down to building it back up,” van Egmond said. “I think it will be a great part of the community."

The outlook is less certain for Collegiate students temporarily attending Hyslop and Green Acres until their school gets $10.35 million in promised upgrades, including a 213-student addition and bigger gym to reflect higher enrolment.

School board chair Alex Johnstone said she wrote Education Minister Stephen Lecce in late November to again press the case for the project, which has been awaiting final ministerial approval since March 13 of last year.

“Unfortunately, we did not receive a response,” she said on Monday.

Stoney Creek’s new Eastdale school a window into student learning and beyond

‘It’s bright and it’s welcoming and there’s space,’ principal says

News Jan 06, 2020 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

The name and location remain the same, but little else about Stoney Creek’s new Eastdale Elementary School is déjà vu.

For starters, there are windows everywhere — looking outside, of course, perhaps most notably to the sky in a section of the second-floor hallway, but also into the main office and classrooms.

While the latter wall-sized windows may afford less privacy, they make it easier for teachers to keep an eye on common areas in the hallways designated for group activities.

Reflecting its 564-student capacity — up from the former Eastdale’s 219 — the new school also has a bigger, double-court gym, with a stage connected to a music room at the back.

“It’s bright and it’s welcoming and there’s space,” principal Richelle Bratuz said as she stood outside, welcoming students for the first day of classes on Monday morning.

“It’s been thrilling. I’ve done this for 25-plus years and been into new schools across the board, but it’s been very exciting. A lot of love has been put into this building.”

Eastdale is the first new public elementary school in the area in more than five decades, part of an accommodation plan that is also rebuilding Memorial and expanding Collegiate Avenue, although the latter project is being held up by the Province.

In return, Green Acres, R.L. Hyslop and Mountain View are set to close. Eastdale’s current 530 enrolment includes 350 students from Mountain View and 180 from Collegiate’s catchment who were temporarily relocated to Green Acres after Collegiate closed last June in anticipation of work there beginning over the summer.

About 200 students remain at Mountain View and will shift to the new Memorial when it opens next year.

Lower Stoney Creek’s superintendent, Jeff Gillies, said he’s impressed builder Pre-Eng Contracting Ltd. managed to ready Eastdale for the start of the second semester given work only began in December 2018, delayed by cost overruns.

The Ministry of Education provided $11.75 million for construction, but the school board required permission to use an extra $1.4 million of its own money from the sale of school properties to complete the project.

Gillies said work will continue in the evenings and on weekends on some finishing touches, including completing the learning commons, or library, and fixing more minor cosmetic deficiencies.

Sod for the torn-up playing field outside, currently fenced and off limits, is scheduled to be laid in the spring, he said.

“It’s definitely going to be nice for the community in terms of rental space, whether it’s the learning commons or the gymnasium. It will be a big plus,” Gillies said.

Stoney Creek trustee Cam Galindo said he’s also impressed Eastdale was able to meet its January opening target, especially after a roof fire in September threatened to stall progress.

He credited staff and volunteers on a transition committee for “a smooth ride for today’s opening.”

“It’s a good start to the new year,” Galindo said. “When you talk about modern class learning facilities, this is it.”

Christine van Egmond, who sat on both the accommodation review and transition committees, said it’s rewarding to see the results of “quite a process” in getting the new school built.

Her only regret is that her daughter, Erin, is now in Grade 8 and will only be there until the end of June.

“I live across the street from the school, so we’ve literally been able to watch it from tearing it down to building it back up,” van Egmond said. “I think it will be a great part of the community."

The outlook is less certain for Collegiate students temporarily attending Hyslop and Green Acres until their school gets $10.35 million in promised upgrades, including a 213-student addition and bigger gym to reflect higher enrolment.

School board chair Alex Johnstone said she wrote Education Minister Stephen Lecce in late November to again press the case for the project, which has been awaiting final ministerial approval since March 13 of last year.

“Unfortunately, we did not receive a response,” she said on Monday.

Stoney Creek’s new Eastdale school a window into student learning and beyond

‘It’s bright and it’s welcoming and there’s space,’ principal says

News Jan 06, 2020 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

The name and location remain the same, but little else about Stoney Creek’s new Eastdale Elementary School is déjà vu.

For starters, there are windows everywhere — looking outside, of course, perhaps most notably to the sky in a section of the second-floor hallway, but also into the main office and classrooms.

While the latter wall-sized windows may afford less privacy, they make it easier for teachers to keep an eye on common areas in the hallways designated for group activities.

Reflecting its 564-student capacity — up from the former Eastdale’s 219 — the new school also has a bigger, double-court gym, with a stage connected to a music room at the back.

“It’s bright and it’s welcoming and there’s space,” principal Richelle Bratuz said as she stood outside, welcoming students for the first day of classes on Monday morning.

“It’s been thrilling. I’ve done this for 25-plus years and been into new schools across the board, but it’s been very exciting. A lot of love has been put into this building.”

Eastdale is the first new public elementary school in the area in more than five decades, part of an accommodation plan that is also rebuilding Memorial and expanding Collegiate Avenue, although the latter project is being held up by the Province.

In return, Green Acres, R.L. Hyslop and Mountain View are set to close. Eastdale’s current 530 enrolment includes 350 students from Mountain View and 180 from Collegiate’s catchment who were temporarily relocated to Green Acres after Collegiate closed last June in anticipation of work there beginning over the summer.

About 200 students remain at Mountain View and will shift to the new Memorial when it opens next year.

Lower Stoney Creek’s superintendent, Jeff Gillies, said he’s impressed builder Pre-Eng Contracting Ltd. managed to ready Eastdale for the start of the second semester given work only began in December 2018, delayed by cost overruns.

The Ministry of Education provided $11.75 million for construction, but the school board required permission to use an extra $1.4 million of its own money from the sale of school properties to complete the project.

Gillies said work will continue in the evenings and on weekends on some finishing touches, including completing the learning commons, or library, and fixing more minor cosmetic deficiencies.

Sod for the torn-up playing field outside, currently fenced and off limits, is scheduled to be laid in the spring, he said.

“It’s definitely going to be nice for the community in terms of rental space, whether it’s the learning commons or the gymnasium. It will be a big plus,” Gillies said.

Stoney Creek trustee Cam Galindo said he’s also impressed Eastdale was able to meet its January opening target, especially after a roof fire in September threatened to stall progress.

He credited staff and volunteers on a transition committee for “a smooth ride for today’s opening.”

“It’s a good start to the new year,” Galindo said. “When you talk about modern class learning facilities, this is it.”

Christine van Egmond, who sat on both the accommodation review and transition committees, said it’s rewarding to see the results of “quite a process” in getting the new school built.

Her only regret is that her daughter, Erin, is now in Grade 8 and will only be there until the end of June.

“I live across the street from the school, so we’ve literally been able to watch it from tearing it down to building it back up,” van Egmond said. “I think it will be a great part of the community."

The outlook is less certain for Collegiate students temporarily attending Hyslop and Green Acres until their school gets $10.35 million in promised upgrades, including a 213-student addition and bigger gym to reflect higher enrolment.

School board chair Alex Johnstone said she wrote Education Minister Stephen Lecce in late November to again press the case for the project, which has been awaiting final ministerial approval since March 13 of last year.

“Unfortunately, we did not receive a response,” she said on Monday.