Humewood Community School is coming of age.
Over the summer, the St. Clair West and Christie area school underwent a massive renovation that included a retrofit, newly configured classrooms and even a skylight.
Humewood was one of five schools put under the microscope last year when the Toronto District School Board conducted an accommodation review to better service the area’s changing school-age demographics.
As a result, the board closed Arlington Middle School, and earmarked millions of dollars for renovation and retrofit projects at Humewood, JR Wilcox, Cedarvale and Rawlinson.
The result led to drastic change in the physical space at Humewood, which was built in 1972.
Starting this fall, Humewood offers a two-classroom French immersion program, and now goes to grade 7.
Next year, the school will also host grade 8 classrooms.
The retrofit is reflecting that change, with lockers for grades 7 and 8 students now lining the second floor in the intermediate wing of the school. Classrooms on the first floor have also been re-configured to accommodate full-day kindergarten, set to begin next year at the school.
Two specialized classrooms have also been added for the senior grades, including an art room, design and technology class, and a separate shop class.
Before the reno, the school was set up in an outdated open concept design with dividers separating carpeted classrooms. Now, the school features fully enclosed classrooms, notes principal John Duwyn during a morning tour of the facility.
That’s but a few changes bringing the facility into the new millennium.
“Everything you see is brand new, to the tiles to the lights to the floors — everything,” Duwyn says.
Hallways also feature motion-detected lighting systems that conserve energy.
Once-darkened hallways have also been illuminated by a second-floor skylight, Duwyn points out.
“It’s really opened it up as far as brightness goes,” he says.
Blackboards have been replaced by whiteboards, and in some cases Smartboards, and the school features wifi.
Duwyn said students and parents returning in September were surprised to see such a change over the summer.
“There was a real ‘wow’ factor because it looks so different,” Duwyn said.
He added the school is also preparing for future population growth, which is expected to go from the current 400 students to 700 by 2015.
An addition may be built to accommodate those students, but it has not yet been approved by the board, according to Duwyn.
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