A steady stream of interested locals cycled through an open house last week to check out the early design plans for the new K-8 school planned for Morden. The community was also invited to offer feedback on the design.

"We did hear a lot of positive feedback," said Brian Fransen, Chair of the Western School Division. "Where the design is right now, you know it's nice and flashy, it's new. There's design elements that the architects have worked with from other school builds as well...so we've gained the benefit of their experience as well. But there were people in the community who have experience in some of the new school construction in the area, between Winkler and Steinbach, and shared some of their experiences from the new schools that they've worked in, some things to look out for or do some things differently from their experiences."

Fransen hopes some of those thoughts and ideas can be incorporated into the next phase of the design. 

Overall, Fransen feels people appreciated the amount of space that's being incorporated into the new school, especially with the classrooms. He noted, the square footage of the classes will be more than what is in some of the Division's older schools.

As well, the plans are designed to address any future growth in enrollment.

"In our other school buildings we've struggled to find a good local for additional classroom space," explained Fransen, referring to where to place portables. "With this school design, there is actually integrated into the design, an expansion wing." This, according to Fransen, would provide the ability to construct eight new, additional classrooms, bringing capacity up to 800 students when the time comes.

Staff and students are also being surveyed for their feedback.

Fransen said all this information will be taken back to the architects who will refine the design based on that feedback.

After that, the next step will be to have the provincial government approve the plans. Fransen hopes the Board can take the project to tender in the Fall.

"From there, it all depends, and I can't really say what things will be like, but what we're looking at, if all the best-case scenarios happen, maybe we can have kids in seats for Fall 2024," noted Fransen.