'It creates an ambiance of excellence:' Frank Ney Elementary expansion officially opens

By Spencer Sterritt
December 4, 2018 - 2:12pm Updated: December 4, 2018 - 4:05pm

The new portion of Frank J Ney Elementary are bright and feature lots of windows for natural light. Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

The expansion, which was toured by district staff on Tuesday, cost roughly $6.6 million and came in under budget, according to the school district.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Walking from one side of Frank J Ney Elementary to the other is like walking between two different worlds.

There's the single floor, older portion of the school and then there's the bright, colourful two-storey expansion which was unveiled on Tuesday morning by the school district.

With high ceilings and lots of windows, the modern expansion added 10 classrooms to the school for the hundreds of incoming students who used to attend Rutherford Elementary before it closed.

“It feels like a really nice, quality environment to be in,” PAC chair Rachel Peace told NanaimoNewsNOW.

Since the sizable $6.6 million expansion opened in September, Peace said she's heard students and teachers are excited to feel cozy and at home in their classrooms.

“It has interesting angles, different colours instead of the plain grey's all the way through and each floor has it's own personality,” she said.

Former district superintendent John Blain, who was involved in ushering in the project before retiring, said it sets an expectation about what's good enough for students.

“This made a statement that it's not good enough for our kids to be in the aging facilities. I think it creates an ambiance of excellence and quality, which are important things we need to instill in our kids.”

With many aging schools throughout the district, Blain said the Frank J Ney development should be used as a template for how to handle future expansions.

More space was needed after Rutherford School was closed, due to the high cost of upgrading the 53-year-old building.


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