Students at Westmont Montessori in Metchosin will be moving into a brand new learning facility this fall.
In September, the school will unveil its new $8-million facility, which will house roughly 172 of the school’s 200 students.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” head of school Magnus Hanton said. “We were just pressured for space. What we’ve seen over the years is awesome retention through our programs … I’d say over the past five years, it’s not that we’ve added new families, it’s just the families we’ve had in the early grades, we’ve managed to maintain.”
The project originally began 21 years ago when several portables from the Luxton Fairgrounds were moved to form the building at the site off Metchosin Road, with the intention of rebuilding it in the future.
Planning for the new facility started in 2012, and gathered momentum in 2015 with the school reaching out to staff, teachers and students for feedback.
Construction began in July of last year when workers demolished the gym that was on the site, and have since built the majority of the framing and will start on the roof soon.
The result will be a three-level, roughly 20,000-square-foot space.
The main level will include administration and four classrooms for early primary kindergarten programs, the top level will be used for elementary programs, while the bottom level will be used for staff functions.
The new building will take advantage of outdoor surroundings, as classes have been designed to allow the movement of students to the outdoors without having to travel through corridors.
Windows will go all the way to the ground so students can see outside during the day and there will be more areas for storage.
Hanton said classrooms will also be larger and will help optimize class sizes, taking younger grades from groups of 24 to 16 students.
“All the classroom and administrative functions in this older set are moving en masse in September into purpose built spaces that are specifically designed to support the Montessori methodology of teaching,” said the school’s director of development James Boxshall.
“We see this as an investment in the whole community. As the West Shore grows, we’re laying a foundation for future generations to bring their children and be in this very specific environment.”
The school also intends on adding grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 in the coming years.
As part of the upgrade, the school is reaching out to Westmont Montessori alumni to celebrate the opening.
Those interested in attending can email firstname.lastname@example.org.