Guest Blog
By Lori Daelick, Principal of École Connaught
and Terry Lazarou, Supervisor of Communications at Regina Public Schools
As published in the Jan/Feb Edition of the Village Voice.

This September, Cathedral-area students will be attending a brand new school that has neighbours and passersby stopping and admiring what may be one of the most striking new schools to be built in Regina.  There are many smiles and much anticipation amongst those who will be part of this school community.
Number TEN's architects are proud of the work we do on educational facilities in cities across Canada.Rendering: Number TEN Architectural Group

“It is very exciting to hear the first impressions that are pouring in,” says Lori Daelick, École Connaught Community School principal.  “There is a very positive buzz in the community!  The building has risen quickly and continues to be on schedule and on budget; and includes the Wise Owl Daycare, a 51-seat infant and childcare centre with its own entrance and play area.”

This dual-language school is unique because it not only incorporates a cutting-edge 21st century learning environment, but it also very much pays homage to the former school building which played such an integral role in the Cathedral community.

Principal Daelick lights up as she explains this idea of combining the past with the present.  “As you enter our building, you will walk toward Heritage Hall where reclaimed bricks, tyndall stone and architectural elements from our former building are proudly displayed to remind us to honour our past as we build our future.  The heritage wall will be lined with pictures and plaques that tell the story of our school’s history dating back to 1912.”

On each tour through Connaught on 13th, Daelick was struck by the amount of light that filled the school.  The school has been designed in such a way that artificial light will be secondary to the natural light filling the learning spaces.  This also means sprawling views of Cathedral streets, which Daelick believes will be a welcome reminder that we are home. A perfect place to take in the view of the community will be on the rooftop terrace, which will also serve as an outdoor learning area.  In addition to the natural light, other environmental considerations, such as passive cooling and heating considerations, means that the school will be very environmentally responsible.  Principal Daelick believes this is something very important to her community.

Educational institution work is a source of pride for Number TEN's Architects.Image/Rendering: Number TEN Architectural Group

“I think the ‘new’ inside the school will also wow our students and staff.  There has been much thought and planning that has gone into theming our school to fit our Cathedral home.  Signage will represent keystone streets and areas in our community.  The furniture and soft seating have all been selected to meet the needs and interests of our students.  Our students have loved trying out unique and functional furniture to ensure the perfect fit for our classrooms and common areas.  This is another reason why Connaught is going to be an exceptional place to go to school.”

The colours that permeate the new school are inspired by Wilf Perrault artwork that, for many in the Cathedral Village, reflects the feel, light, and atmosphere of the neighbourhood.  Artist Wilf Perrault is also working with students on a collaborative art piece that will be displayed prominently in the heritage hall—a light filled space facing Elphinstone Street, which features integrated amphitheater seating where the entire school community can gather to celebrate and learn together as a community.  Daelick believes this art piece will be a stunning tribute to the creativity that inspires our community.  She anticipates many events being held in this area to draw us closer together as a community.

The physical structure holds great significance in education, yet it is the pulse on the inside that will make the school truly great.  “Connaught school culture is best summed up by our motto ‘community of excellence’- ‘communauté d’excellence’,” Daelick adds.  “This reflects our quest for excellence in both French and English learning and leadership, but also refers to the excellence in this community – past, present and future.”

“Our current school community council is no exception to excellence found in our community,” notes Daelick.  “From day one, they have been a positive force for our community and our students.  This year a devoted, hard-working group of parents formed a playground committee who fundraised over $50,000 for new equipment and benches that will enhance our community.  It is because of their dedication that our students will enjoy a playground filled with structures that are more accessible for everyone.  I want to extend sincere appreciation to the members of our SCC and the playground committee for their dedication and commitment.  You truly emulate the old adage: It takes a village to raise a child.”

“I am grateful to the collaborative work of the community, Regina Public Schools, Number TEN Architectural Group, Cite360 Studio designers and the support of the Government of Saskatchewan who have helped us achieve what I consider a perfect mix of old and new,” Daelick concludes.  “There are no words to accurately depict the excitement I feel thinking about greeting staff, students and families on the first day of school.  I believe this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone involved.  It will be an experience so profound that it will likely mark the climax of my career and the educational journey of my students.”

All Cathedral-area families are reminded that now is the time to register.  École Connaught Community School is now welcoming back and registering all students from the neighbourhood.  School registration information can be found at connaught@rbe.sk.ca.  Daycare registration information can be gained by emailing the Wise Owl Daycare at wiseowl@sasktel.net.

To take a virtual tour of the school, please view the Number TEN video below: