Mont-Bleu students move into federal building

Students displaced from a Gatineau high school got to wander the halls of their new home this weekend before officially moving in today.

High school was struck by lightning during September's storms

Students walk past lockers installed in the Asticou Centre in Gatineau, Que., on Dec. 2, 2018. Part of the federal government complex will now house students from Gatineau's École secondaire Mont-Bleu, which was severely damaged in a September fire. (Radio-Canada)

Students displaced from a Gatineau high school this fall got to wander the halls of their new home at an open house this weekend before move-in day.

École secondaire Mont-Bleu was struck by lightning in September after six tornadoes tore through the capital region.

Since the fire, Mont-Bleu students have been attending classes at l'École secondaire de l'Île, sharing the building with the existing students by effectively having their day split into two shifts.

As of today, however, they'll be attending class at the Asticou Centre after a portion of the complex was transferred to the Commission scolaire Portages-de-l'Outaouais (CSPO) by the federal government Sunday afternoon.

The complex had to undergo a major upgrade to accommodate the nearly 1,500 students from Mont-Bleu, with plumbing, laboratory facilities, lockers and a library all having to be installed.

The temporary library, shown off as part of Sunday's open house. (CBC)

As part of Sunday's event, Mont-Bleu students were given a chance to wander the halls of their new academic home.

"We can adapt and succeed here as if it were the old school," student Diego Zarava told Radio-Canada in a French-language interview.

Could be long-term home

While the CSPO's lease expires in June 2019, school board officials say there's the possibility students could also be attending classes there in the fall — or even permanently.

"We are having negotiations right now, because you never know. Mont-Bleu has been badly damaged," CSPO president Mario Crevier told Radio-Canada in a French-language interview.

The federal government has relocated some 600 Asticou Centre employees to other buildings.

A classroom at the Asticou Centre, which was used as a school for public servants before becoming the temporary home for Mont-Bleu high school students. (CBC)