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Eddie the Eagle is ready for school.  Eddie poses at the back of one of the new classrooms
REPORTING · 31st August 2012
Walter McFarlane
Because of the nature of the changes in the high school, this article has been written to attempt to explain the changes to former graduates.

The first day of school is fast approaching. With so many changes having taken place over the summer to upgrade Mount Elizabeth Secondary School (MESS) into a High School / Middle School, the school held an open house to tour the new students around the school.

Principal Janet Meyer explained returning students will find: “The physical structure of the school will have changed and some of our expectations in terms of traffic flow and where students can and can’t go will have changed because we will try for the most part to keep the two schools separate.”

The most visible change is the Principal’s Office has been moved to the Art Wing and the former office, staff and counselling rooms have been turned into classrooms. There have been 6 new class rooms which have been built. 13 classrooms will be used by the middle school. A playground was constructed outside of the school for use by the middle school students.

“There are sceptical people out there who wonder why you would need a playground for middle school kids,” said Meyer. “Adolescent kids are in a unique stage of development and you need to keep them moving.”

Every student in the middle school will have a home room teacher. The class will revolve around that teacher. The Grade Nines will switch teachers for some classes, the Grade 8s will switch teachers for a few classes and the Grade 7s will stay with their homeroom teacher most of the time.

Grade 10, 11 and 12, the high school students will be operating on the same system as before.

“I don’t think it will take long to get the bugs worked out, we have the maintenance department to generate a list of things that aren’t quite right and they will make them right,” said Meyer.

The two schools are designed to be separated. The middle School takes up the Old Wing, the Home Economics Wing and the hallway outside the Big Gym and Library. The High School is situated in the Science Wing, Art Wing, Drama Wing and IE Wing.

Shared spaces in the school include the cafeteria, library, Theatre, Band Room, Drafting Lab and Sewing Room. It is impossible to keep the students completely separated.

The High School gets the Big Gym and the Middle School gets the Little Gym. Bathrooms in the Little Gym have been converted to change rooms.

One change which did not get made to the school involved the often discussed, unused court yard in the centre of the school. There was some talk prior to the renovations concerning extending the library into it. Meyer does not expect it to happen in the near future though.
Principal Meyer and Vice Principal McKenna show off the new office
Principal Meyer and Vice Principal McKenna show off the new office
Students climb to the top of the new playground
Students climb to the top of the new playground
Two grade nine classrooms connect with a smaller room in the middle
Two grade nine classrooms connect with a smaller room in the middle
Behold, the new staff room.
Behold, the new staff room.
Comment by Allan Hewitson on 5th September 2012
No such thing as former grads Walter, either you're a grad or you're not -- well a dead grad might be a "former graduate?"

I suspect we're short of dead readers...