Renovations usher in new era for Sudbury Secondary School

Grade 12 Sudbury Secondary School student Alyssa Roy belts out a Rihanna tune in one of the school’s new dance studios, simultaneusly busting a few dance moves.

She beckons her classmates to join her, and they dance energetically to the music.

Roy, who studies drama and vocal music in the school’s arts program, said she loves the recent upgrades to her school.

“We have this awesome drama room and the nicest dance studios I’ve ever been in,” she said. “I’m excited to see the new auditorium, because that’s where we’re going to be performing all of our shows.”

On Feb. 8, Sudbury Secondary School’s principal, Paul Camillo, led members of the media on a tour of the $21.5 million revamp of the 103-year-old school, which is due to be completed this September.

The renovations, which were mostly funded by the province, began in September 2008, with the revitalization of the school’s A-wing, which runs along MacKenzie Street.

Upgrades included a displacement ventilation system, new energy-efficient washrooms, lighting and boilers, new state-of-the-art science labs, a family studies area, sewing room, weight room, computer labs and renovated classrooms.

An addition accommodates change rooms adjoining a newly-renovated gymnasium.

Camillo said although everything was updated, the look of this wing was preserved by keeping a lot of the old wood, flooring and blackboards, when possible.

“One of the things that was important in this area was to keep that tradition of Sudbury Secondary going, since there is such a large group of alumni,” he said. “We had to think about how you mix the old and new.”

Construction on the new arts wing began in June 2010, and was completed in September 2011. It includes modern music rooms and studios for dance, drama, visual arts, photography and media arts. It also houses a new library, wood shop, auto shop and administration offices.

The entrance to the school is now at the new arts wing on College Street, as opposed to the old entrance on MacKenzie Street. Dancers working out in the glassed-in dance studios are visible to passersby on the street.

Renovations are still ongoing on the 50-year-old Sheridan Auditorium. Camillo said he hopes the auditorium will be ready to use in time for the school’s graduation ceremony in June.

“Right now if you walk in the auditorium, you wouldn’t recognize it, because it’s basically a shell,” he said. “It’s been gutted.”

He said a new electrical system, sound system and lighting system are being installed, as well as new, more comfortable seating, and larger change rooms.

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