A novel concept for the new Belmont and Royal Bay schools includes space dedicated for community use that will see the schools get more use throughout the year.
The provincial government has included about 15 per cent of space in all new schools constructed during the past few years for community use, said Sooke School District Superintendent Jim Cambridge.
The new Belmont school will include a day care, two rooms for Camosun College programs and rooms for Island Health use, Cambridge noted.
Both schools will also include space for West Shore Parks and Recreation. Linda Barnes, chief administrative officer for the recreation body, said they worked closely with community organizations to utilize the space in the best way to provide programs targeting everyone from pre-school to adults, including seniors. “There will be a strong focus on programs for youth,” she said.
West Shore Parks and Rec. has been designated about 500 square metres of space at Royal Bay and will also have access to the school’s new fields for recreational use.
The space at Belmont, although not as large, includes access to the school’s gymnasiums as well as room for an assortment of programs and uses.
Cambridge said he believes the school district has done a great job of fulfilling the provincial government’s mandate.
The new spaces will see the schools being used by the community in the evenings, on weekends and during the summer as well, Cambridge said.
He said both schools will be ready for students on Sept. 8, although construction and final work may continue until November.
“These are fantastic new learning spaces,” Cambridge said. “I’m sure the kids will be excited to be in them.”