'It's starting to take shape': Rollo Bay French school nears completion

The new French school in Rollo Bay, P.E.I., is nearing completion. The $9 million project includes extensive renovations to a school in the community that was closed a few years ago.

'There's strong Acadian and Francophone roots in the area'

The school is expected to open in the first week of February. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The new French school in Rollo Bay, P.E.I., is nearing completion. 

The $9 million project includes extensive renovations to a school in the community that was closed a few years ago.

The new building is both a community centre and K-12 school, says École La-Belle-Cloche principal Marise Chapman, with a daycare, elementary wing and high school wing with room for 150 students. 

"At this point the outside of the facility is looking very very good," she said.

"The inside, every area looks a little different."

'Strong Acadian and Francophone roots'

Contractors are installing electrical fixtures and laying flooring throughout the building. There's also painting being done in the high school wing and other work is also being done in the elementary wing.

There's a lot of little jobs to be completed and she hopes there aren't any major hurdles along the way.

One focal point of the new school is the multi-purpose meeting area, with a performance stage front and centre. Also, for the first time, French students in eastern Kings County will have a full size gym and space for industrial arts and home economics.

École La-Belle-Cloche principal Marise Chapman says the new school will be a boost to athletics as well, allowing students to host home games. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Chapman said the school will help prepare the many Francophone students in the region.

"There's strong Acadian and Francophone roots in the area — we also live in an area where people want our children to be able to leave the area and be well prepared both linguistically and culturally and in terms of work skills so we're really catering to that need."

"Kids, when they graduate from our school, are fluently bilingual and it's greatly anticipated."

Should be ready by February

Jordan Brown, P.E.I.'s minister of education, toured the facility as well. He said the school will be central to the Acadian population in the area.

"It's starting to take shape, you can kind of see the potential that this space has for the community in this area," he said.

Jordan Brown, left, toured the facility on Thursday. He hopes the school will help lead to a 'renaissance' for the Acadian community in the area. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"It's very exciting to check it out and to see what's going to happen here and the future that that offers for this community."

For now, students at École La-Belle-Cloche are using the old school nearby in Fortune.

If all goes on schedule, they'll be moving into the new school in early February. 

With files from Brian Higgins