It took three years, $10 million and 54,000 square feet of added space to transform Charlottetown's French K-12 school, École François Buote.
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But as the expansion was unveiled today — highlighted by a new wing just for high school students — none of the celebration was really about the numbers.
"I play a lot of sports, so just to see the gym get bigger and be able to have two practices after school rather than the one, it's a huge change," said student council president Gabrielle Cloutier with a big smile.
The school was built for 150 students but that population has grown over the past 25 years to more than 300.
"All the classes were always full, we were combining lockers and everything, so we were just always on top of each other" explained grade 12 student Pieter Van Leeuwen.
"Now with the new section, all the new materials, the computers and lab and stuff — we have much more space and more tools to use."
New classes now offered
During four years of construction new classrooms were built on, including a new science lab. A state-of-the-art home economics room replaces one that had just one oven for students to share. Students now have a proper music room instead of using a storage area.
"We can offer shop and mechanics which were classes we were not able to offer before. So our grade 10, 11, 12 students weren't getting the full high school experience," said the school's principal, Elizabeth Blake.
There are even areas, like a reading room in the library, that the public is free to use.
The changes will likely be a draw for new students and the community, said Cloutier.
"And I know when I talk about my school they're like, oh you have that? ... We have such a beautiful school now and ... we're able to flaunt it, it's really — it's fun."