Excitement abounds as new school opens doors

Peggy Revell

There was excitement—and curiosity—in the air yesterday morning as students walked into the hallways of the new Robert Moore School here on the first day back to school.
“We’re just really excited for the staff and students and the community for Robert Moore School,” Heather Campell, director of education for the Rainy River District School Board, said about the new building which will house pupils from the old Robert Moore as well as the now-closed F.H. Huffman.
“It is a beautiful building and will provide so many opportunities for our students to further their success in education,” she enthused.
“The Smart boards, the layout of the building—everything about it is so wonderful and conducive to an excellent learning environment.”
While it was ready for students yesterday morning, parts of the new school still are awaiting completion.
“The biggest item that won’t be done for opening is the final sheet vinyl flooring in the classrooms,” Raymond Roy, the board’s manager of plant and operations, said last week, adding other “odds and ends” around the school, such as trim and painting touch-ups, also need to be completed.
“All the work, starting [now], will be nights and weekends,” he noted. “There will be no disruptions, no construction at all, no [workers] running around the building while kids are in the building.
“It will just be outside of regular school hours,” he stressed.
Roy said he is “pretty optimistic” that everything will be finished by the end of September, although this depends on the contractor’s schedule that’s currently being worked on.
“We had a very aggressive construction schedule, with very tight deadlines, and contractors worked diligently to get it done,” Roy said about the project, which has been underway for more than a year.
“There’s always a delay here and there, but certainly [they] gave it their best effort,” he remarked.
“As with any new construction, sometimes not every single thing gets done when you want it to.
“This is going to be an absolutely beautiful learning environment for our kids. That’s the positive,” Roy stressed.
Waiting to see what the new school will be like has been “pretty unbearable,” Cole Turcotte noted on the day before heading off into Grade 8.
It was interesting to watch the new school being built step by step throughout the past year, he added, and he’s excited to see what it will be like.
“I’m probably going to miss about everything about [the old Robert Moore],” Turcotte admitted.
“I’ll probably miss, like, the gym and stuff—because that gym was pretty good.
“What I’m looking forward to is we’re going to have way better classrooms, with all the new Smart boards and a lot of new stuff,” he enthused.
“And it’s probably not going to smell as bad as the old school,” he added.
“The stage and the gym—that’s the most exciting,” sixth grader Savannah Whalen said about what she was looking forward to while waiting outside the new school with other students yesterday morning.
“[It’s] kind of scary because I think I’m going to get lost,” she noted, adding she’ll miss “everything” about the old Robert Moore, including the basement and how much she knew the school.
“I’m excited for this school [because] it’s really nice, and I’m excited for the new one,” piped in Nicholas Doerkson, who also started Grade 6 yesterday.
One of the things he’s looking forward to with the new school are the big windows in the classrooms.
Along with the consolidation of the two former schools into the new one, board staff temporarily have relocated into the old Robert Moore building while renovations occur at the adjacent board office.
The old school eventually will be demolished.
Meanwhile, besides the new Robert Moore School, Campbell noted something the board also is excited about is the building of a new school to replace the old one in Mine Centre, with preliminary work having already begun in August.