If you went into Clearview Elementary school last week, you could see kids playing an impromptu game of volleyball.
The game was being played by kids of all ages, while balls matching the colours of the rainbow flew around haphazardly.
In some places, this isn’t a big deal. But for the kids of Clearview, having the space to do this without restrictions was a cause for celebration last Thursday.
Clearview has always had a gymnasium. But Doug Boyd, School District 60’s Secretary-Treasurer, said there were discussions to replace it for the past 30 years.
The old gymnasium – which had about same space as a generously-sized family living room – meant that kids couldn’t play like they could elsewhere.
“The foul shot line was centre court for basketball,” said Boyd. “Three bricks up the wall was the end line (for volleyball).”
Dennis Giesbrecht, the school’s former P.E. teacher, said that sports had to be modified in order for them to be taught.
“We had to have a lot of people sitting at all times because we didn’t have enough room,” he said. “We had to take turns.”
But for the past four years, a concerted effort had been made by people in the community to replace that gymnasium.
With $3.6 million in funding – from the Peace River Regional District, School District 60, and the Ministry of Education – the school was able to get that new gym.
By last spring, that gym had been finally completed – with new sound system, a dividing curtain down the middle, and a space that by one estimate was four times the size of the old one.
“It feels absolutely wonderful,” said PRRD chair Karen Goodings. “This is what we worked on for a number of years to have every advantage.”
“From the educational point of view, we can now run all physical education programs within all the curriculum,” said Clearview Principal Griff Peet. “Every child has a fair opportunity to participate in all different sports.”
Kids participating in sports will be able to find out which is fun for them, and that could help them remain active later in life, Giesbrecht said.
The school will have more uses for that space, too.
“Having a common meeting place (like the gymnasium) is a great place for the community,” said Peet.
The school may also need that extra space, if growth keeps up the way it has. An earlier estimate from the Ministry of Education put their school district’s annual growth at 25 per cent.
Either way, the current kids – and the greater number of future children expected – will likely feel better now about gym time.