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FBM Celebrates Latest Feat with Opening of Bible Hill Elementary School

On November 14th The Bible Hill Elementary School celebrated its official opening, with students being welcomed a few months earlier at the start of the school year in September.

In planning the design for the new school, which is located within the agrarian landscape of Bible Hill, FBM wanted to hear directly from the people who would be benefiting from a new space to better understand what they needed from the physical building to support all styles of learning. 

“Our learning environments are setting the stage for how we want young people to engage in their communities in the years to come. They need to reflect varied needs and diverse learning styles in a positive, welcoming environment,” says Susan Fitzgerald, Partner at FBM and lead architect on this project. “The plan we developed for Bible Hill Elementary School recognizes that each student learns differently and that individual learning styles must be accommodated in both the educational programme and the design of the learning spaces.”

The school replaces Bible Hill Central and East Court Road Elementary, and currently provides programming for more than 200 students from grade primary to grade four as well as a pre-primary class. There are three main areas that animate the new school; a welcoming entry and common areas, student support and resources, and the learning street.

“The design team took a new approach with the ‘learning street’ concept, creating a flexible environment and shared collaborative space to provide learning spaces away from the formal classroom,” said Fitzgerald. “It includes an art space, library, and circulation areas. There are places for wet and messy activities, group work, individual quiet time – all shaped using agile furnishings which are easily rearranged to suit a variety of activities. 

The school also includes a learning centre and sensory room for diverse learners, gender neutral washrooms, a cafeteria, quiet reading area, music room, and stage. Maureen O'Shaughnessy from CS & P Architects was the educational consultant for the project.

In an interview with the Truro Daily News during the opening event, the Honourable Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development noted that it was the nicest school he’d ever visited.

He further remarked to the Truro Daily News, “I know this school will be a great place for the next generation of Bible Hill community leaders, business people, public servants, scientists… maybe there’s an astronaut or two in there,” he said when speaking to those gathered in the gymnasium. It will be so important for your learning and development, but I know it will also serve as an important hub and centre for this community as it moves forward and serves many generations.”

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