New Beattie students missing Stuart Wood, enjoying bigger space

By Chad Klassen
September 16, 2016 - 2:49pm Updated: September 16, 2016 - 7:16pm

KAMLOOPS — There's more space, roomier classrooms, and bigger play areas for the kids. 

Everything's grander at the new Beattie Elementary school on McGill, especially compared to the century-plus old Stuart Wood Elementary, where many of the students once resided.

While there are still nostalgic feelings over Stuart Wood, students and staff are adjusting quite comfortably to their new school.

"It's amazing, the size of the school. It's been a real win-win," says Principal Blair Lloyd, who is also coming from Stuart Wood after one year. "The students have so much space compared to before. They have two full-size fields, a full-size playground, they have a music studio, and a full-size gym." 

The gym at Beattie is nearly three times the size of the old Stuart Wood gym. It's one of many features that are grander than the 109-year-old structure downtown. 

The larger space, inside and out, has been welcome for both the teachers and students, of which there are more, with about 25 more students at the school than expected. 

"We're getting a variety of students from around. Some Albertans, a lot of international students registering here. Then we also have our Stuart Wood contingent," says Lloyd.

While most are from Stuart Wood, a handful of the students from the old Beattie School of the Arts just stayed. 

"My mom wanted to change my education because she thought I wasn't getting enough education in an arts school," says one student. "We're just doing dance, music and drama. She wanted me to stay here, so I could focus on the studies."

The transportation up the hill, which many parents worried about during public consultations, has gone smooth as well.

"Bussing has been going really well. We have three buses picking up students: one from Prince Charles Park, one from the Lloyd George catchment area, and one from Stuart Wood itself. The kids love going on the bus. They're getting used to being bus students now."

Meantime, the Stuart Wood building remains empty, still in the hands of the city, which is expected to meet with the provincial government later this month to talk about its future.

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