Principal of St. Patrick’s Community School, Terri Lynn Mundorf is thrilled with the new learning space at the school. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Staff and students loving new addition to St. Patrick’s Community School

The Red Deer expansion consists of a bright and wide open learning space with lots of windows

Staff and students are thoroughly enjoying a brand new addition to St. Patrick’s Community School.

It’s just one phase of a three-part expansion to the school, said Principal Terri Lynn Mundorf.

“We now have complete phase one of the modernization – phase two technically started yesterday and will run until the end of June,” she explained during a tour of the site Feb. 5th. “Phase three will start during the summer sometime and by December 2019 we are supposed to have our school back! So that is very exciting,” she said.

Phase one consists of a bright and wide open learning space with lots of windows.

“What happened with phase one is there were six middle school classrooms that were demolished and two elementary classrooms,” she said, adding that part of the new space used to be just open concrete.

“So now it’s all enclosed – totally rebuilt, redesigned – Group 2 Architecture did an absolutely amazing job utilizing the space. We have more windows and have the garage doors in the classrooms that open up for collaborative teaching and presentations.

“This area will also become a makerspace area. So once we get everyone moved back next school year and we get all settled and finally moved, then we will be able to use this space as a true makerspace area to create, innovate and design,” she said.

“It will be very exciting.”

So far, the feedback from students has been tremendous.

“Yesterday, the students came in and they said, ‘We are in shock. This does not feel like St. Patrick’s! This is amazing – this is awesome.”

During phase two, the school has lost the gymnasium, the home economics lab and the shop, so staff have had to reschedule for all of that.

“When the students came in yesterday, we asked them if it was worth the sacrifice. They said, ‘Yes – this is incredible’. So it’s pretty amazing.”

Teacher Kelly Groenewegen, who has been teaching at St. Pat’s for nearly 20 years, said it’s great to see some brand new additions and spaces for St. Patrick’s, particularly the big spaces that classes can collaborate through back and forth.

“The kids are really enjoying it. It’s nice to be here and see them get a new space.

“They love it – they are really excited. It’s still pretty new, but they are excited to be here.

“I think it will be really good too once we get the collaboration worked out.”

Another teacher, Monica Sagan, added that the first day the students were let into the new space was amazing to see.

“We’ve been looking forward to it for a long time,” she said. “Yesterday was amazing – the kids were pumped to be here; we are pumped to be here. It’s a new experience for sure.”

Sagan said she’s already directly seen the learning benefits through the opportunity to team teach so conveniently.

“It’s a collaboration for everyone.”