The kids were practically bouncing off the walls with excitement this afternoon at PJ Gillen School in Esterhazy, as a special assembly was held to declare the renovated library and gymnasium open.
It’s been a long journey to bring the school building up to a whole new standard, a journey which even included a degree of political lobbying and some Provincial Television attention last year. Back then, the problems included a seriously-deficient heating system, and parents were decidedly unhappy about it all.
Well, that’s history now. The HVAC system was redone, and with the help of the ministry, the school division, some pretty big donations from corporate sponsors such as Norenda Construction and Mosaic, and a variety of local fundraising efforts, the school has benefited from a massive amount of renovation work.
In addition to the work on the HVAC system, the Gymnasium was practically stripped bare, re-floored and rebuilt. This included the re-development of an open space on the second level, a space that will be used for activities such as yoga.
The library also was extensively re-fitted, new lockers were purchased, and the entire office area was re-designed. To top it all off, the building saw lavish amounts of new paint being applied in the hallways. Still to do are windows and lighting, but the difference so far is like night from day, and everyone is delighted.
Today’s assembly included an address from Principal Kelsey Shields, who said, “Our school has experienced many changes since September. Our beautiful new gym, beautiful library, lockers, office space, and painted hallways has changed our school. I can safely say that our school has evolved into a beautiful learning space for our very deserving students….. Thank you to Mosaic, Good Spirit School Division, the PJ Gillen School Community Council, Esterhazy Lions Club. Norenda Construction, and Esterhazy Gymnastics Club. Without the support of these groups, PJ Gillen would not be where we are today.” Kelsey also added her appreciation for the staff and students.
Also on hand today to bring greetings from Mosaic was Chandra Pratt, who reaffirmed, “Mosaic is committed to strengthening our local communities where our employees live. That’s why last summer Mosaic provided PJ Gillen School with a $300,000 grant to support these renovations…. We wanted to help in this project because improving our local schools is important. It leads to a safer and healthier environment for our students.“
Following the addresses, a group of students gathered in front of the audience to cut the ribbon, and to declare the renovations officially open. Needless to say, this action was met with rousing cries of enthusiasm from the gathered crowd.
Further activities included singing performances by certain classes, a visit from Kermit the Frog, and award presentations rejoicing in such names as Boogie Bucket, Wacky Stool and Pizza Party.
As the assembly closed, the adults in the audience were invited to stick around for the afternoon and to tour the new facilities.
Below are some pictures taken during and after the event this afternoon. We once again appreciate our own Platinum Sponsors for supporting our photography, that’s why their slides are incorporated into this presentation. As always, click any thumbnail to open the viewer.