People check out the plans and designs for the new Chilliwack senior school during an open house at the school on Monday.

Staff, students look forward to new school

Joe Ogmundson can’t wait to see the old gym at Chilliwack secondary school torn down.

Ogmundson who’s been teaching and coaching at CSS for more than two decades and who’s also a graduate of the school, has no time for sentiments when it comes to the current gym facilities.

Joe Ogmundson can’t wait to see the old gym at Chilliwack secondary school torn down.

Ogmundson who’s been teaching and coaching at CSS for more than two decades and who’s also a graduate of the school, has no time for sentiments when it comes to the current gym facilities.

“The old grads, they’ll say they love that old gym, but all they’re doing is putting a warm fuzzy around an ugly pig,” said Ogmundson. “I’ve got no warm feelings for that place, none at all. It’s a dump. It’s got a pathetic floor, it’s cold, it’s drafty, it’s filthy all the time. I’ll be so happy when they push that building over.”

CSS staff and students were given an opportunity to view the plans for the new school at an open house on Monday afternoon.

Ogmundson was excited to learn that the new school’s gym will be adjacent to the playing fields, unlike now where the gym is a parking lot, school and music building away from the fields. But he was also disappointed that only one change-room facility for males and females were included in the design; he would have liked to have seen at least two each to accommodate visiting teams.

“It’s nice, but I don’t know if they thought about everything,” said Ogmundson.

Many who viewed the plans were excited to finally be getting a new facility, but several were also sad with the impending loss of the current one.

“I feel mixed about it, I think a lot of people do, especially those who have been here a long time,” said math teacher Ed Klettke, who’s been teaching at CSS for 27 years.

“On the one hand we’re really excited about having new facilities and a bright, clean, shiny new school so that we’re no longer the sad one of the three in the district. But at the same time, there’s a lot of history, a lot of traditions, a lot of time spent in this building and I think it might be tough to see it torn down.”

A new facility also presents new challenges. While CSS, which was built in 1950, has been modified over the years to fit the needs of staff and students, the new building will be suited to ministry guidelines.

“In some cases we’re downsizing,” said Klettke, whose current classroom, which used to be a science lab, is larger than a standard math class. “The classroom I have now, it’s going to be cut down considerably. And some other areas, like the art spaces, are probably going to be half the size they are now, but that goes with getting a new building.”

Several current CSS students came out of the open house with envy.

“I wish I could be here for that school,” said Grade 12 student Andrew Lavallee.

“It’s going to be like amazing,” said Grade 11 student Sabrina Johnston. “It’s going to be so much bigger.”

The new school will be 18,000 square metres, have three floors, and will accommodate 1,200 students. The current one has a capacity for 1,050 students with portables.

The new school will also include a 600 square metre gathering area that’s almost double the size of the current foyer, as well as additional smaller areas throughout for students to congregate, eat lunch and socialize.

“It’s going to be a much-needed update for the school,” said Grade 12 student Kyle Fortin. “This old one’s falling apart.

“Sure, it’ll be sad. We’ve been her for three years, have a lot of memories, and it’s all just going to come crashing down, but time goes on.”

Fortin’s younger sister Kelsey, a Grade 9 student at A.D. Rundle, will be among the first graduating class at the new school.

“I’m really excited, I think it’s going to be a really cool school,” she said. “It’s going to be cool to be a part of history.”

The new school is scheduled to open in Feb. 2013.

• Related Story: New CSS will mark new era in education

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