After being a high school for a number of years, Fort Saskatchewan's John Paul II Catholic School is now officially a middle school.
St. JP II is larger than the former junior high school, Our Lady of the Angels, with a second floor and a full cafeteria.
According to principal Robert Stecyk, the students have been very excited about moving into the building.
"It has been extremely positive. I haven't spoken to a student that hasn't been thrilled about coming into, for them, a brand new building. We know the building is 25 years old but for our student population, it is all brand new for them."
New features for the students include a larger gymnasium, a construction lab, a foods lab, a musical theatre space, a full service cafeteria and a chapel. The school also has sky lights that allow for more natural lighting. These facilities are rarely seen in a typical middle school, giving the students at St. JP II unique learning opportunities.
Using the high school building seems to have been an attractive feature to many parents, as enrollment has increased from the previous year. Already the school is getting close to its capacity, with approximately 400 students.
"I think there is a positive vibe in the community about having a middle school in a high school building. I think taking the frame-work of a high school and evolving a middle school philosophy to that building has been phenomenal," Stecyk added.
Students are using four new portables added over the summer. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of September.
"There's been a little bit of a learning curve but our parent community has been very supportive of that, realizing that it's a work in progress," Stecyk said. "I think our community and our student population are very blessed to be given the opportunity to come into a facility like this and convert it to a middle school mentality."

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