Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Waterloo Region District School Board celebrated the beginning of the new school year today by opening a new $18.5 million facility.
Oak Creek Public School is an 80,000-sq. ft. facility – the largest construction project in the region’s history – and it has some unique features including classrooms designed to “push the boundaries of conventional educational thinking”.
Planning for Oak Creek PS began in January 2018, when then Education Minister Mitzie Hunter, announced $16 million provincial funding for the new school.
“I am hopeful that staff and students at Oak Creek PS will have the opportunity to engage in authentic and experiential outdoor learning experiences for many years to come,” Principal Jeff Johnson said. “I look forward to engaging in this learning alongside them as we begin to build our school’s legacy together.”
“The Doon South community is growing rapidly, and we are ready to have our school serve this community,” Johnson said. “For me, it’s going to be all about relationships and community at Oak Creek.”
Through broad community consultation the new school was named Oak Creek Public School in 2022. The name Oak Creek brings together two significant natural features – Oak trees that are native to this area, and Strasburg Creek – which are located near the school.
Located at 80 Tartan Avenue, Kitchener, the school will serve up to 591 students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8, and will also be home to a child care centre, as well as a City of Kitchener community centre.
Unique features include whiteboards in each room — specifically set to the height of the students in the grade — and flow desks are designed to allow students to easily form groups around the classroom. Instead of a teacher’s desk, teachers will have smaller mobile teaching stations.
Also, every class is retrofitted with a 75-inch television and a sound field to amplify the teacher’s voice through a speaker system and they were designed with springy sport flooring, commonly found in gymnasiums into classrooms to eliminate the need for carpet.
There are two gymnasiums and the library was designed with floor-to-ceiling windows and 30-foot ceilings.
Work continues on the city’s community centre, which has a dance room and other rooms available for programming. Behind it, the EarlyON Family and Child Centre will offer programs for families and young children at no cost.