When the kids first entered the empty and cavernous former Kent Building Supplies store in Charlottetown Tuesday the first thing that crossed many of their minds was what a wicked place for a game of ball hockey.
When they heard their new gymnasium would be large enough to fit about four of the mini-size basketball courts at their current school, they were really impressed. The new school will have a gym as big as the highschool gyms on P.E.I., the students were told.
Immanuel Christian School principal Matthew Mann related that facts during an open house at the new school site Tuesday, prompting a round of applause.
Space was the key factor for school officials and parents when they decided to purchase the former building supply store and turn it into a larger school. Immanuel Christian School is now located in part of Spring Park United Church and school officials hope they will be in their new digs by this September.
“I think it is a remarkable sign of what God can do to bring something together,” said Natalie Mann, who has four children in the school. “Such an unconventional use of ideas and yet it all seemed to work together so quickly and so smoothly."
Mann said the main goal of changing locations was to gain much more space.
“The old location (Spring Park Church) did not accommodate what was necessary or allow for any more growth…that’s a big deal because if you are a school where people want to come and you are not able to accommodate them you feel like you are not able to do what the potential of the school is,” Mann said in an interview.
This will be a major renovation job and Mann said she believes that most parents are eager to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the work.
“Once the plans are in place I think people will be keen to start working right away do whatever…parents can do as much as they can and the rest will have to be done by professionals.”
Mann said her family moved to the Island seven years ago and even then it was clear that space was going to be an issue with the school.
“So it’s really been that long that we have been hoping and praying and dreaming about what comes next so for it to actually come together is pretty exciting for everybody.”
The students are also looking forward to the increase in space, but they are also hoping to meet new friends because larger premises could mean an increase in enrolment.
“It’s going to be a lot different because there is going to be more people and a lot more space which is helpful for use,” said Andrea Burns, a Grade 7 student.
Matthew Mann, principal of the Immanuel Christian School in Charlottetown, explains to the gathered students how much space the new gymnasium will have when it moves into the former Kent Building Supplies store on Allen Street.
©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis