End of a short journey: Mill Creek School students move into school next door

Excited Mill Creek School students moved into the new school next door to their former building, a rare instance for a mature neighbourhood.

‘This is a really new thing for us in Edmonton Public, getting a replacement school in a mature community’

Mill Creek School students get their first look inside the new school as they move in. Most new Edmonton Public schools are built in new neighbourhoods, not mature ones like Mill Creek. 1:41

Close to 350 excited elementary students walked from the former Mill Creek School to the brand new one conveniently located right next door. 

Many were impressed as soon as they entered the school, while a few got emotional as they received a first look of the meeting areas and classrooms.

The new building features a larger gymnasium, a dance studio and kitchen for community use. The school has a Spanish bilingual program.

Construction of the school in the Ritchie neighbourhood began in October 2017 and was completed a month ahead of schedule.

While some students were attached to the former building that was built in the 1940s, refurbishing the old school would have been more expensive than building the new one.

Students fill the halls of the new Mill Creek School as some stop to get a first look at the gymnasium. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

"There was constant maintenance — boilers, air vents and the constant cleaning because it's just an older building," said Ed Charpentier, principal of Mill Creek School. "To be able to come here and start fresh, everything clean, it's nice for the kids."

Most of the new schools built by Edmonton Public Schools tend to be in new neighbourhoods to address a growing population of young families, but Mill Creek school is an exception.

"This is a really new thing for us in Edmonton Public, getting a replacement school in a mature community," said Bridget Stirling, Ward G school trustee. "It's new and it's exciting and I think it's in keeping with a lot of work that's going on in Edmonton right now.

"Making sure that not only do we support our growing suburbs but we also continue to support the needs of our students across the city."

Edmonton Public Schools is using an integrated project delivery for new and replacement schools.The process allows parents, students, infrastructure staff, designers and contractors to work together on the project. 

This model is being used for six school projects, making Mill Creek the first.

The former school building is expected to be demolished.