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‘State of the art’ joint-use elementary school opens in Regina, facing capacity issues months in

On Monday Regina Public Schools and Regina Catholic Schools celebrated the grand opening of the Argyle and Ecole St. Pius X joint-use elementary school.

The school is located in the Regina Lakeview neighbourhood and has been under development and planning since 2009.

Kyla Adams, the principal of Argyle school, had both of her kids attend the old Argyle school, and said the upgrades were extremely overdue.

“We’ve got great staff assembled that are looking forward to using all the spaces that these new buildings provide and the flexible learning spaces,” she said. “Opportunities for large and small group instruction are just state of the art. We’re very pleased with how the build turned out.”

The government of Saskatchewan invested over $44 million into the joint-use facility, which replaces the two former schools: Argyle, which was built in 1950, and Ecole St. Pius X, which was built in 1953.

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The new Ecole St. Pius X elementary school is part of a joint-use facility with Argyle school. Derek Putz / Global News

The province said around 800 pre-kindergarten to Grade 8 students will attend the school, with 400 in Argyle and 400 in Ecole St. Pius X.

However, after opening its doors at Easter time this year, the school is already facing overcapacity issues. According to Adams, 479 students are already attending the school.

“We’ll have to look at different accommodations as all our learning spaces are very full of kids that are excited and happy to be here, but yeah, we are very full,” Adams explained.

Regina Board of Education chairperson Sarah Cummings Truszkowski believes there needs to be more done in terms of building new schools, as they currently can’t keep up.

“They often open and they’re full already,” Cummings Truszkowski said. “We’re trying to do this very quickly — getting these schools built in the southeast end of the city. But we need the schools now, and it’s going to take several years.”

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Regina Catholic Board of Education chairperson Shauna Weninger echoed a similar sentiment, but said there are a few new builds on the horizon.

“We have one approved out in Harbour Landing, which is a much-needed location,” Weninger said. “We’re also working on the approval for another location in East Regina.”

Weninger said St. Pius is not yet facing capacity issues, with roughly 320 students currently enrolled.

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said 17 schools are currently being constructed or planned across the province this year, but with a growing population, he said more discussions will take place.

“It’s rightly identified as a challenge,” Moe said about schools facing capacity issues.

“More is needed and the 17 schools that are planned or under construction this year are not the end of the road. There’s going to be conversations around additional infrastructure, not only replacing some of the aging infrastructure, but building for some of the growth that we are we are seeing.”

With capacity issues plaguing many schools in Regina, Cummings Truszkowski said students and teachers are suffering.

“When it’s cramped, it’s hard on teachers because their classrooms are full and it is hard on the kids, too, because kids are not getting the staff with them as much as they could,” she said.

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“You’re looking as well at the mental health and well-being of your students and staff when you’re working under those situations,” Weninger said. “And we need to be able to provide proper resources to our staff in order to ensure that they can cope with the numbers of students within their classrooms.”

The new facility will be approximately 11,050 square metres in size, which is roughly the size of the playing surface of Mosaic Stadium. It includes a 51-space child-care centre, as well as outdoor learning areas and a mini-gym that can be used by both schools and for community events.

&© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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