Ecole Notre Dame High School (EDNHS) is in the middle of a huge modernization project that will bring the school to the forefront of academia. The project, while modernizing the building will allow ENDHS to offer its students a whole new range of innovative programming. Principal for ENDHS, Pam Guilbault says one of the biggest excitements for the school, aside from the enormous new gymnasium, is the expansion of the Careers & Technologies Studies (CTS) program.
Some of the new programs to be offered when the modernization project is complete are: small engine repair, electro-technologies, construction, and fabrication (welding). The new CTS lab is destined for the east wing of the school and is large enough to comfortably allow students to learn a variety of skills that’ll transfer nicely into careers or future education at a post-secondary institute. “With Alberta Education, really the possibilities are endless,” Principal Guilbault explains there a hundreds of different CTS programs available through Alberta Education, which will allow the school to cater to the area’s industries and students needs.
“The sky is really the limit, when you think about. There’s [programs] like robotics, CAD and drafting [that are possible programs to be offered].” The new design will have the art room down the same corridor of the school, right next to the CTS lab. Principal Guilbault says the placement was not by accident, and rather to enhance the capabilities of the school. “When you think about it, when we combine the art room with the capability for design and drafting, and having it located directly beside the CTS lab, it opens up the possibly for blending. Students have the opportunity to take those courses together and really explore a variety of courses, that they’ve never taken before, at Notre Dame High School.”
The south wing of the school will have a large majority of the classroom. As you travel down the hallway, students will be greeted with the ENDHS colours; gold, blue, and grey. The classrooms are familiarly placed, however each room will be updated with the latest technology. EDNHS is part of Lakeland Catholic School District (LCSD), who have been making quite a name for themselves as leaders in educational technologies in the region. Along with laptop stations in every classroom, which allow students to use laptops at their desks, each classroom will be set up with an Epson Projector with interactive white boards. “The projectors are able to link into iPads, so students will be able to display their work on the boards, from their desks. You can display up to four iPads.” The iPad technology will be ready to go for September of 2017, when the modernization project is expected to be completed.
A new large gymnasium has the entire student body excited; not only will they be able to host proper tournaments and school functions, but the current gym will be transformed into a commons area. Some thrilling features of the re-purposed space include a Home Ec lab that will able to cater to the students and allow for a seated eating area. Not quite your typical cafeteria. The stage will remain as is to double as another space for student gatherings.
Principal Guilbault and the staff are especially excited about coming down from the second floor cramped offices to what will be the new front entrance. The ceilings will be vaulted with many windows to draw in a warm and inviting atmosphere when you first enter the school. Offices will be to the right, with large street-view windows. The entrance will be expanded down to what is now a step up from the front sidewalk. The library will be expanded into what is now the commons area and the school will have an upgraded music room, complete with three sound proof practice rooms.
“The students have been incredibly resilient [during the construction process], I’m so proud of them. We have, hands-down, the best student population. They’re incredible students,” Principal Guilbault admits the construction can be trying at times, but the crew has been very accommodating to their needs. “If they’re an exam, we let them know ahead of time and they won’t work in that particular area, during that time. We’ve tried to minimize the amount of distractions that have occurred. During exam week we did not have much construction going on because [the crew] knew we were doing high stakes exams.”
Construction is construction, Principal Guilbault says they’re not complaining, “we wouldn’t get a new school without it,” she laughs. EDHS’ modernization project is running on schedule for a September 2017 opening.