Students prepare for classes in swapped St. Vital schools

More than 600 students in Winnipeg's South End will be starting the academic year off in different buildings after the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) swapped the locations of two schools.

Students of Hastings School, École Marie-Anne Gaboury to start classes in new buildings

Some parents at Hastings School are upset the Louis Riel School Division will have their children switch buildings this fall with students at École Marie-Anne-Gaboury, the French immersion school next door. (Google Maps)

More than 600 students in Winnipeg's South End will be starting the academic year off in different buildings after the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) swapped the locations of two schools.

Three children from the Aiello family are among those getting ready to start a new year at a new school.

“It'll be pretty cool but at the same time weird because we're not going back to the old building,” said sixth-grader Mickele Aiello.

Over the summer their school, École Marie-Anne Gaboury, traded spaces with Hastings School.

The two buildings are adjacent to each other and even share the same playground. The idea to switch the two schools was a product of rising enrolment numbers at École Marie-Anne Gaboury.

Eighth-grader Corrina Aiello said she was upset she would not be spending her last year in the same building.

“I'm not really excited to go to the other building, because I started there,” said Aiello. “I kind of wanted to finish there.”

Hastings School parents were against the change proposed by LRSD officials, which passed in April. Parents said their children would suffer because É​cole Marie-Anne Gaboury school didn't have the same facilities.

The division went ahead with the building swap anyway, because the French immersion École Marie-Anne Gaboury was at 105 per cent capacity and expected to grow, while Hastings School was only half full.

Despite the unusual circumstances, LRSD superintendent Duane Brothers said the halls of the new Hastings School are ready to welcome students.

“Have we made a little bit of a special effort considering all this tremendous change that staff and students and parents have had to endure for the last year? Yes, we gave it a little extra attention,” said Brothers.

Fourth-grader Luca Aiello said he's okay with the changes, but can also understand why students at Hastings School don't want to move.

“Some of them might feel the same way I do but some of them might be upset because they like their big school and wanna stay there,” said Luca.

Classes resume at both schools this week.