The question everyone is asking as they drive by the Maples Collegiate is "What are they building on the school grounds?"
The answer is that the Collegiate is in the midst of constructing its long-awaited student commons.
The north section of the school yard is lined with construction barricades, enclosing several big construction machines; including a crane. Most of the front section of the school building is torn down. Massive excavations have been completed and dozens of foundation piles have been driven.
The student commons will have many exciting features. The award-winning design was developed by Number TEN Architectural Group and the builder is Bockstael Construction.
The $8 million-dollar project will see extensive renovations to and expansion of Maples Collegiate. This is the last of an improvement initiative and will mean all three of Seven Oaks School Division high schools will have a student commons. Construction is scheduled to be completed by August 2014.
The prominent 19,892-square-foot student facility will dominate the front mid-section of the school. The expansion will also link the Ken Seaford Junior High (west pod) to the Maples Collegiate (east pod).
The commons will feature a second-storey walkway and balcony. The main floor will seat 500 in its new cafeteria and will accommodate 800 in theatre-style seating. There will be a platform stage and ample furniture and equipment storage spaces.
The multi-purpose facility will be used for student gathering, dining, as well as presentations, musical and cultural performances by both the school and the community.
Also included will be a mini park and plaza for students. Several seating areas will be erected on the grounds. The plaza will incorporate wide promenades, a large bicycle station, lots of trees and patches of tall prairie grass. The prominent entrance canopy will be supported by several columns that will simulate Manitoba birch tree trunks.
Jay Punj, co-president of the Maples student council says, "the commons will certainly be a terrific addition to the school. It will brighten the community with the cool architecture."