Students, staff start to settle in to Sioux North High School
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Staff and students made the official move from the formerly named Queen Elizabeth District High School to the newly constructed Sioux North High School (SNHS) on March 18 and, so far, they’re in love with the space.
“It’s very spacious and comfy,” said Clifford Bone, a grade 11 student.
“I really like the new building. It’s exciting,” said grade 10 student Tristan Bouchard.
“The new gym looks really nice. Just have to find a new hangout spot now,” said Taylor Machimity, a grade 11 student.
“I’m just really excited because the building is beautiful… We’re here and it’s awesome. I know there’s just a little bit left to finish up, but I’m just excited to be in a brand new building,” shared Matt Gain, physical education and outdoor education teacher.
“I feel like the gym is really soundproofed now and everything is very modern. I think the lighting is more ergonomic too,” said Shannon Lawrance, SNHS grad coach.
Through a news release sent out last week, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board shared some of the many features at the new school, “The new school has 513 pupil places with 23 classrooms. At a cost of $30 million, features of the building include:
Many large window and glass features throughout the building allowing for plenty of natural light and open areas.
A sizeable multi-purpose cafeteria/auditorium (or cafetorium) with full dramatic arts capabilities, including telescopic seating, integrated lighting, elevated stage, and a sophisticated sound system.
New, state of the art equipment and spaces for shop classes, science labs, communication labs and food and nutrition programs.
New furniture throughout the building.
A large and bright library with a wall of windows including a variety of seating options and work stations for students.
A gym with a hardwood floor and large windows that fill the gym with natural light.
A new music room with skylights to allow natural light in and all new instruments to support the music program.
“The new school also includes spaces for our partners, including Confederation College and FIREFLY.”
During the official move in day, Principal Wayne Mercer shared his excitement to see the students in the new building after nearly five years since the announcement of $30 million for the new building in April of 2014.
“There’s been a lot of work and the timelines have been really tight to get to this point today. There’s a lot of hard work from the general contractors, to our school board supervision of the project, to push things to the limit to get us ready for March Break week. So there’s a lot of kudos and respect to all the people that really went above and beyond to make this happen,” he shared.
“Right now it’s about getting the kids in and getting them to get acquainted with their new space, find new classes, find new lockers. I think just in the expressions I saw this morning as I took the grade nines around on a tour, they’re just so pleased… They deserve nothing but the best, and they got a building that I think is as good as any high school in the region so I’m excited,” he continued.
In its news release, KPDSB Director of Education Sean Monteith added, “From start to finish the new high school project in Sioux Lookout, now known as Sioux North High School, has represented more than the construction of a new building. It has always been about bringing equity and access to all students from Sioux Lookout, and all of the North. It has been about a new beginning for our communities, our young people and bringing equity of hope for their futures. It is an incredibly proud day and one that we will remember forever. The young people of Northern Ontario deserve nothing but the best, and it is my hope as Director of Education we have made this possibility a reality.”
Asked when the school will be completely finished, Mercer shared that they’ll still need a bit more time to do some finishing touches around the building.
“Like any new building, we’ll identify what needs to be adjusted or fixed. There’s landscaping to be done still as the spring melt continues, so I suspect that there will be some level of work going on late into the spring before we can finally say we fully moved in,” he concluded.