TRURO – With the fate of many schools having been questioned lately in the province, one local Primary to 12 school is having the opposite problem.
École acadienne de Truro is soon to expand, thanks to an increase in interest and enrollment.
“The drawings are in and the tender is out,” said Robert Carreau, the school’s vice-principal. “We have an expanding student body. We currently have 330 students, but there is interest for more, especially at the Primary level. That’s when youth can learn. It’s a lot easier to teach those in Primary than say, someone in Grade 8 unless they’ve had that background.”
The school, which is under the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial umbrella, will see an additional eight rooms included, with six being classrooms. One of the two at the back of the gymnasium will be a fitness/weight room, while the other will be more for shop class.
“We have tiny high school classes that are graduating, but we have huge groups of 40 coming into Primary,” Carreau said, noting three students graduated this year. “We’re not losing them, as we traditionally would. The retention is there now because we offer more extracurricular activities.”
The vice-principal said the school has only recently been able to offer higher level sports and music programs. This school year, the junior girls volleyball team picked up the Northumberland Region championship, and the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Division 3 girls volleyball title also came home to the school. The school’s boys volleyball team made history by capturing the school’s first regional title.
The school currently has 16 classrooms, which will bring the additions to 22, plus the other two. It’s expected the capital construction project will cost $1.9 million, which the vice-principal said is quite reasonable.
“Existing school systems, such as electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation, have sufficient capacity to cover the extra space.”
Ten years ago, enrollment in Grade Primary was around 20 students, which Carreau said hovered for a number of years.
“But then we offered a pre-primary class, growing up in French, and that’s usually popular. It sets the children up so they’re already speaking French before starting Grade Primary.”
The school, he said, began offering the pre-primary class in 2006 and this fall’s Primary enrollment is up to 45.
While the tender is still out for the construction of the rooms, the plan is to have construction start in September.
“With it opening the following September,” Carreau said.