After more than 95 years of excellence in its former location, John Diefenbaker Senior School has officially marked the opening of its state-of-the-art new home. On Thursday, October 3, 2019, Bluewater District School Board trustees, staff, and students joined local dignitaries, community partners, and architects for a special ceremony at the new location at 201 18th Avenue in Hanover.
The new and improved John Diefenbaker Senior School welcomed Grade 7 to 12 students and staff for the first time this past September. Funded through approximately 20.8 million dollars from the Ministry of Education’s School Consolidation Capital program, the building’s unique design and construction reflect countless hours of hard work and diligence by board staff in collaboration with the build team.
The new facility includes upgrades to functional space, accessibility, and power energy savings, such as LED lighting. In addition to full size transportation, manufacturing, and construction shops, the school boasts a double gymnasium, cafetorium with stage, two-storey atrium, and full size track and sports field.
The grand opening, which was by invitation only, featured school tours for dignitaries by student ambassadors, speeches, presentations, music, ribbon cutting ceremonies, and a plaque unveiling. Part of the afternoon was devoted to preserving history through a rededication of the monument that had been donated by members of the local Dutch community to the former school site. The monument had originally been dedicated by former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker himself in recognition of the anniversary of the liberation of Holland by Canadian soldiers in World War II. This year marks the 75th anniversary of that historic liberation.
As previously advertised, community members were invited to a public open house and barbeque in the evening from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
“Our government is investing in building new schools and renewing existing schools across Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound so that students have safe and positive education environments to learn and thrive,” says local MPP Bill Walker. “I’m honoured to join the great community of Hanover today and mark the official opening of the new John Diefenbaker Senior School, which will play an important role for our young people and families for decades to come.”
“We are beyond excited to officially open John Diefenbaker Senior School in its remarkable new location,” says Tracy Lynn Atkinson, Trustee for the Municipality of West Grey/Town of Hanover. “Many individuals are deserving of our thanks for their support and immeasurable contributions in realizing this project, including our board and school staff, the build team, JDSS families, and the community.”
“Congratulations to our students, staff, families, and the entire Hanover community on this amazing milestone, which will be remembered as a watershed moment in John Diefenbaker Senior School’s rich and storied history,” says Superintendent of Education Paul Hambleton.
“Our students and staff are simply loving their modernized learning spaces as they work to bridge the traditions of the past with the possibilities and learning culture that they are creating for a very bright future at the new home of John Diefenbaker Senior School,” says Principal Andrew Riddick.