After a full year at a temporary site, students and staff at Devonshire Public School had an exciting start to their school year as they returned to a school that had just undergone a $4.5 million transformation.
Most notably, the building is now fully accessible. Originally built in 1910, the old Devonshire was three storeys high with no elevator or ramps. The new Devonshire finally got an elevator, but now also has a special entrance with a ramp.
“This is huge,” says Devonshire Principal Julie Derbyshire. “Not only did they add it on to our building, but they made it a beautiful space. We will use it as a learning space as well. The natural wood, the brick, the tile, the light – it’s just a wonderful space.”
The gym also got a major facelift with new floors, basketball nets, lighting, white boards, sound system, ceiling fans, a retractable screen.
Massively high ceilings throughout the building had to be brought down to accommodate energy-efficient lighting, but to a visitor, they’re still as high as ever.
Many original features of the school were preserved including doors, windows, slate blackboards. Hardwood floors throughout the entire school were restored to their original state. The building was also painted top to bottom in colours that reflect its heritage.
Although the fresh coat of paint was welcome, the school’s updates went far beyond the cosmetic. A sprinkler system now extends throughout the entire school. Other key upgrades include secure swipe card entry and video surveillance on the front door. It is a school that’s moved into the 21st century, but also knows from whence it came.
“It feels like a place where learning is meant to happen,” says Julie. “It’s cheery, it’s bright, it’s open. It feels organic.”