Students file into the new Royal Bay secondary school on a rainy morning.

Royal Bay’s ‘family’ proud of new school

Ravens flocking to, not away from new nest in Colwood

Students and staff at the new Royal Bay secondary school are having a tough time thinking of things they don’t like about it.

Katie Rufh, 17, is in her first and final year at Royal Bay. While the senior student could not have imagine the first month in the new digs going any better she was especially excited to start making new traditions.

She said since it was a new school, the senior class “didn’t have any yet.”

Rufh didn’t even mind being separated from her Belmont peers. “I kind of like the smaller student body she said,” adding that the two schools were working together on several senior events like the winter formal and prom to keep everyone together.

Rufh did however predict in the future the two schools would become rivals, especially their sports teams, but for now she said “we’re all still friends.”

Royal Bay principal Windy Beadall said in the design phase there were some concerns over students damaging some of the school’s aesthetic features. But the architect had promised students would rise to the challenge.

“It’s nice to see their respecting it,” said Beadall, adding that students had really taken ownership of the new school and unlike the old Belmont school were happily staying put on the grounds.

She said their had been a few minor “growing pains” but the contractors had been amazing.

John Froess teaches English on the second floor overlooking the bay. He is in one of the double classrooms separated by a glass partition. While some originally thought the glass divider would be a bit of a distraction he said it has led to a more collaborative learning environment, allowing them to open it for more interaction.

He said settling into the new building had been a “bit tough” but that was mostly due to trying to get new technologies up and running.

Froess however did miss his Belmont colleagues and found that to be the hardest part of the move. “It’s like a family splitting up,” he said. Although, he too noted they were still working together with their sister school.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Royal Bay secondary:

Funding announced: Oct. 31, 2011

Ground breaking: Sept. 27, 2013

Cost: $38.6 million

Student capacity: 800

School colours: Purple and white

Team nickname: Ravens

Features:

-Three-story classroom block

-350-seat theatre

-Professional learning kitchen

-Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Juan de Fuca Strait

-Rooftop basketball court

-Rubberized track

-Turf field

-Targeting LEED Gold Certification (green building certification)

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