© Photo special to The Guardian
Morell Consolidated School and Spring Park Elementary School, shown here, has been closed until Jan. 18 because of air and health concerns.
The bells will be ringing for the first time inside the new Spring Park Elementary School on Tuesday, March 12.
It's been two years since students were moved out of the old building after testing found mould. In its place is a $11.5-million state-of-the-art building which is approximately two-thirds bigger than the old school.
"The sentiment is that this has been a long time coming,'' said Ellen Morse, chair of the Spring Park Home and School Association. "The kids are so excited and the teachers are, well, beyond excited. It's going to be great to be together again.''
John Cummings with the English Language School Board said equipment will be moved into the new school on March 8 and March 11 and classes will begin on Tuesday, March 12.
"We're just making preparations about getting the move ready and getting things scheduled and making sure the final construction requirements are done at the new school,'' Cummings said.
Students in the Spring Park system are currently split between two schools, St. Jean and Birchwood. However, when students were first moved out they were divided up between four schools, St. Jean, Birchwood, Parkdale and West Kent. Grade 6 students this year have spent that time moving between three different schools.
Morse said all the moving around and being apart from close friends has been a strain on the youngsters. Spring Park serves kindergarten to Grade 6.
"Kids don't adjust well to change and there's been a lot of change,'' she said.
A meeting with the home and school association was held Wednesday night where they heard about how the new school will be a 21st century learning space with collaborative learning spaces.
There has also been a lot of work going on behind the scenes on new playground equipment.
Neil Robertson, co-chair of the playground committee, said when the old school was torn down everything was thrown out, including the old playground equipment.
"There was a budget for the new school but none of that money was allocated for actual playground pieces so we had to come together as a parent committee and figure out a way,'' Robertson said.
The eight-parent committee sent out letters asking for corporate donations. He said the list of people who are giving is long, some $500, others $1,000 but one Island company wrote a rather large cheque.
The owner of Discover KIA in Charlottetown and Summerside as well as Experience Hyundai in Charlottetown donated $112,500.
"This has been the most generous donation I can say that I know of as far as making our children have that outdoor exercise, fresh air between classes and just getting out and playing.''
It helped the playground committee raise $125,000 so far. The total budget is $165,000.
Robertson said the equipment won't be in place until September, due to weather and soft ground conditions.
There will be an open house at the new school on the evening of March 12, once the kids have had first crack at the new digs.