Renovations to accommodate junior kindergarten at Harry Camsell School should be complete by this coming weekend.
“What I have been told by our colleagues at Infrastructure is that it will be completed the weekend prior to Thanksgiving,” said Olin Lovely, assistant deputy minister with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment.
That means the work should be complete when the children go back to school on Oct. 10.
Carolyn Carroll, the principal at Harry Camsell School, is also hopeful the renovations will be completed by that date.
However, she said she is always prepared for the unexpected in case the work might take a few more days and be finished closer to mid-October.
Carroll said she will be excited to see the renovations completed and the junior kindergarten children will be happy to be in their new space with their own washrooms.
Arctic Canada Construction Ltd. won the contract to complete the renovations in a section of the school with a bid of $161,945.
The work involved, among other things, turning three regular-sized classrooms into two larger classrooms, new flooring and carpeting, relocating a door and the installation of two washrooms with child-sized toilets for the young children in junior kindergarten.
“Any kind of renovation where you’re adjusting the plumbing will cost a lot of money,” said Lovely.
Junior kindergarten is for children who will be four years old by Dec. 31 of a year, meaning the students will be three-and-a-half or four years old.
Despite the ongoing renovations, junior kindergarten began at Harry Camsell School on Aug. 31.
“We have 14 registered in our JK program,” said Carroll. “We offer a full-time junior kindergarten program at Harry Camsell.”
Lovely noted the Department of Education, Culture and Employment provided additional funding to the Hay River District Education Authority to hire education assistants to help junior kindergarten children when they had to go to a washroom.
Carroll said the department has been very helpful in that respect.
“They will have their own washroom in their classroom,” she said of the children in junior kindergarten. “But for the time being the department knew it was necessary to have somebody hired that could escort children down the hall to the washroom.”
Carroll noted more children in the community are eligible to attend junior kindergarten.
However, she is uncertain whether more will attend once the renovations are complete.
“Right now, I really don’t know if we will get more as a result of that or not,” she said.
Most of the young students go full days, but some attend half-days.
“It’s up to the parents,” said Carroll.
Junior kindergarten is not compulsory.
At Harry Camsell School, junior kindergarten will have two teachers.