After two years of disruption and noise—oh the noise, noise, noise, noise—the sound of jackhammers and back-up beepers has given way to classroom discussions, squeaky shoes in the gymnasium, chatter in the cafeteria, and some much-welcomed silence in the chapel and library.
An event was held on November 20 to celebrate the completion of construction that began in the fall of 2012. The $29 million renovation and expansion included a new gymnasium, upgrades and renovations to classrooms, and conversion of existing space to upgrade the library, chapel, music, band art, industrial arts, and home economics rooms. The school's office and staff room also got some much-needed attention.
"Holy Cross High School is the largest school in our division with over 1,100 students. The school was in need of upgrades and additions to provide a proper learning environment for our students and staff," said Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Board Chair Diane Boyko. "We are grateful for the investment of the Government of Saskatchewan and for Education Minister Don Morgan's support that made these upgrades and additions possible. Our students will have every opportunity to learn in a warm, welcoming atmosphere."
In a press release, Education Minister Don Morgan said, "Our government is pleased to contribute to this significant project, which gives students access to a modern, safe and state-of-the-art school. Holy Cross High School has been delivering quality education to students for over half a century and we believe this investment will help to continue that success for many more decades."
"It was so much more than adding space and cosmetic changes," said Ben Garchinski, former principal who was at the school throughout the renovations. "Plumbing, duct work, electrical and lighting—it all needed to be upgraded to give students and staff a safe learning environment."
"We just got some furniture delivered this week, so there are still a few little things here and there, but we are all very pleased with all the changes," added Lisa Hodson, principal. "Our students will be able to learn in a 21st century environment, not a 1970s one."
See photographs on Facebook
A Brief History of Holy Cross High School:
- Opened in 1963; Grade 9 classes began with 172 students at St. Charles elementary school on the corner of Grosvenor Ave. And 7th St. E.
- Fr. James Mahoney (who would later become bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon) was the first principal.
- In 1964, Phase 1 of the school's present building opened with classrooms along Taylor Street. The school was on the outskirts of town, and there were no paved streets or bus service at that time (buses only went as far as Preston Ave.).
- In the early years, students wore uniforms: boys wore dark pants and a white shirt with a tie and green sweater; girls wore a green skirt that reached below the knees and a white blouse with a vest and green sweater.
- In 1965, with the first students now entering Grade 11, Phase 2 of the school opened. It included the main office, a library, gym and an additional classroom wing.
- In June 1967, Holy Cross High School had its first graduating class.
- In 1971-72 a theatre and music room were added; the cost was $900,000.
- In 2011, with about 1,200 students, the renovation and expansion project was approved in the provincial budget.
- Stages of project: Start date: fall 2012; final cost: $29 million; end date: fall 2015
- Current enrolment is over 1,100 students.