The students and staff at Fort Saskatchewan's St. John Paul II Catholic School have found a flaw that comes with turning a former high school into a middle school.
The building, previously designed for older teenagers, lacks a system for recess. That includes a playground and outdoor bells.
The field behind the school, where the students can play at recess, is a longer distance from the doors than the students saw in their old school, Our Lady of the Angels.
"Our Grade 5s have a little bit of a journey to get out to the green space out there. It takes them some time. So we've been bouncing around some ideas of how we can decrease the amount of travel time and what other options we can offer," said principal Robert Stecyk.
Finding a solution for the missing playground can be expensive and time-consuming.
"It takes anywhere up to a year to fundraise, plan and organize the implementation of a playground," explained Stecyk.
Playgrounds can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build. The Alberta government now helps pay for playgrounds when building new schools, but since the building is over 25 years old, it does not qualify. The Elk Island Catholic School division is currently talking to the government in an attempt to receive grants.
"We're hoping that with community support, in consultation with our parent-school council, we can secure funding to built a playground and have it ready for next school year."
In the meantime, the school has had to come up with different ways to give the students an area for recess. Half of the parking lot has been turned into a tarmac play area. The old baseball diamond that was behind the school has also been relocated and replaced with turf.