The first couple weeks at St. André Bessette have been a new experience for staff and students.
Just over 500 students are enjoying the new, spacious high school.
"We were so packed in the old school (St. John Paul II - JP II). No place to sit in the hallways and eat lunch, to have spaces for students to be in their off-time and have hallways that you can walk down and not have to stop and wait for people to pass by. Those are all really wonderful things to have here," said principal Steve Tymko.
There are many differences between the former high school and St. André Bessette; on top of more spacious hallways, the classrooms are also bigger, there are more rooms for specialized classes, the school contains two gymnasiums and there is more natural lighting.
"Student response has been great. I've been trying to get out in the school, talk to students several times per day just to get their impressions and it's all been really positive," said Tymko.
The school isn't without its quirks; construction isn't completely finished yet so contractors are still working on finishing minor details during the evenings. A lot of technology wasn't working at the start of their year, though that has mostly been fixed. The school's cafeteria is not operational yet.
"I'd say we're 99 per cent done, it's just a few little minor things. It would have been nice to be completely finished but construction goes the way construction goes."
Tymko says that his short-term goals are to see construction finished and to have a fully functioning building. Moving forward, he is excited to continue to create new opportunities and programs for the students, should there be a demand for them.
"I'm looking forward to building a St. Andre Bessette culture and not necessarily a continuation of JP II culture. Not that they might be hugely different, but with a new school is kind of a fresh start to make a few changes if you need to make them and I think continue to build on a lot of the excellent things we've been doing in the past already."