A brand new school year is upon us but students at Rutland Middle School (RMS) will be walking into a building older than most of their parents.
The 71-year-old facility that welcomes Rutland’s Grade 6 through eight students has seen no progress or announcement to upgrade, rebuild or expand.
A new-age education does not belong in a 71-year-old building according to RMS’s PAC president Marie Howell, who called the situation “extremely disappointing.”
“Students, teachers and staff at RMS will be returning to a school that now has 12 repurposed portables, which are eating up the shared sports fields with Rutland Senior Secondary,” she said.
“To no one’s surprise, the main core building continues to age.
“Allowing schools to age beyond their expiry dates and adding more portables to school grounds are both equally irresponsible by any government in power.”
The middle school has seen some improvements over the last few years with additional gender-neutral washrooms being added last year. Howell said that although these new facilities are appreciated, it’s a “Band-Aid solution.”
“The bigger challenges RMS will face over the next decade will be the maintenance, lack of accessibility, a steadily growing population and safety concerns for the students. All of which could be resolved with a new school,” she said.
Howell also mentions the brand new $38 million Canyon Falls Middle School as an obvious divide of old and new.
“The socio-economic divide observed between the two schools is seen in the buildings itself, the locations, and the surrounding neighbourhoods,” Howell said.
“Yet children are supposed to be attending public schools that are equivalent.”
Howell heaped praise on the students and staff of RMS for making the best of a challenging situation.
“The building will continue to be what it is but the students will not let it define them as future citizens, instead it will make them more diverse, resilient and innovative people,” she said.
“This does not mean the families in Rutland will give up on their desire to have a school building that honours the Rutland students.”