The new École La-Belle-Cloche opens to students
The project has been eight years in the making
The new École La-Belle-Cloche in Rollo Bay has officially opened its doors to students, parents and the Acadian community of eastern P.E.I.
Thursday marked the first day of classes, and the first time many are getting a chance to see the newly renovated school.
The project has been eight years in the making, with plans to build the school dating back to 2010.
"It's been such a long time coming, and it's just really important. It's going to provide the kids an awesome place for an education," said parent Melissa MacDonald, who became emotional when she walked into the school.
"My daughter actually told me she might cry happy tears, which is going to make me cry happy tears."
The school was originally supposed to open last September but structural issues delayed the opening until now.
In the meantime, students and teachers were stuck in the old École La-Belle-Cloche in Fortune, P.E.I. Before that, they ran the school out of the nearby Department of Fisheries and Oceans office.
"We, let's say, we were extremely creative with our space. We had some offices in closets, such as mine, with no windows," said literacy coach and vice principal Geneviève Ouellette.
The new school is made up of about 10 per cent of the original structure, formerly the Rollo Bay Consolidated school building.
The rest of the school has been completely renovated.
The $9.1 million school boasts new classrooms, resource rooms, a new auditorium and a brand new gymnasium. It will also act as a daycare and community centre for the local Acadian community.
Marise Chapman, the principal of the school, has worked on the project since the beginning and said having this new building means being able to give her students the best education possible.
"We really wanted them to have what other students have in the province, access to the variety of courses in the right facility, in the right context," she said.
Almost at capacity
Even though the school just opened, Chapman said their numbers have already grown and that they're close to capacity.
They are also trying to raise money to have a playground built on the property.
Until then, students are spending time exploring their new school and Chapman said she's excited about the possibilities of what this new space has to offer.