New Brunswick

Almost-finished Seaside Park Elementary will open 1st day of school

The new Seaside Park school will accommodate 480 students from three different elementary schools in Saint John's west side.

Seaside Park School on Saint John's west side will combine 3 different schools

Parents and students can attend an open house on Wednesday at Seaside Park Elementary School in Saint John. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Children on Saint John's west side will have a fresh new school this September —  so new it's not quite finished, although it will be ready for classes the first day of the school year.

The new Seaside Park Elementary was built for nearly 480 students and replaces the former Seawood, Havelock and St. Patrick schools.

Students who would have gone to Seawood school in years past will be among the first to enter the doors at the newly constructed Seaside Park School, less than a kilometre away. (Seawood School)

Zoe Watson, the district superintendent, said that after 18 months of construction, the school for kindergarten to Grade 5 is ready for students.

"I was by the school yesterday," she said. "It looks wonderful. Certainly, something to celebrate. The landscaping has been done, the trees are in, the pavement is in and teachers and staff are returning today."

Not everything is ready though, Watson said. The gymnasium and cafeteria still need work.

"It will be later this fall before we'll have the gym, and the school will have a large cafeteria," she said in an interview with Information Morning Saint John.

As well, the new school is on the site of the old Havelock school, which will be torn down to make room for a playground and a recreation field, Watson said.

In the meantime, students will be able to use Seaside Park for outdoor activities.

Open house this week

Watson said combining the three schools started last spring.

"We had a meet-and-greet picnic in the first week of June, which I attended. We had 500 people there."

An open house on Wednesday is to help parents and students learn more about the new school.

"There will an opportunity for parents to learn about curriculum, tour the school, and a carnival of activities for the students as well," said Watson.

New school was needed

The Seawood School was built in 1960 and need upgrading, according to Matthew Bedard, the principal at the time.

In 2015, the Department of Education announced funding to build a new school. A combined $21.6 million over three years was set aside to build Seaside Park Elementary School.

"Everyone is excited for the move," Bedard told CBC News earlier, "although for some of the younger students it hasn't really set in yet — they don't think that far ahead. They're just excited to be in school with their teachers."

With files from Information Morning Saint John