New school

Heather Harris, principal of Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School, stands in the hallway that connects classrooms on the first floor.

The space may still be taking shape, defined by walls that have been framed in or freshly drywalled and orange tarps where windows will go, but Heather Harris envisions this new school in Thunder Bay as much more than a place to learn.

“I think we’ll really be able to build a really good sense of community and family here,” said Harris, principal of Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School which is on schedule for completion this April.

Built on the site of the former Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute, the new school can accommodate 745 students from kindergarten to Grade 8 and will welcome students in September from the closing Agnew H. Johnston Public School and Edgewater Park Public School.

The two-storey structure has one hallway on each floor off of which all classrooms are built, as well as a library common room, art room, science room, and gymnasium with a bank of large windows.

Harris, who has been part of the project since its inception, said what they really focused on in the design and build was creating opportunities and spaces for students to collaborate.

“We know that happens a lot with the teaching within the curriculum,” said Harris. “But giving kids space, flexible space, some really unique furniture, and just areas where they can gather together and really form some community within the school was really important within our design.”


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