New look for Winchester Public School

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The vacant yard where the portapack once sat. The construction fence remained up for a few days after the removal.

Winchester Public School is a few tonnes lighter this school year. That’s because in early August, the last section of its separate “portapack” building was removed and hauled away to another school as its classrooms will no longer be needed. 

The portapack building was relatively unique, as far as portable classrooms go. It featured seven classrooms all connected via a hallway, with its own set of boys and girls washrooms, and a separate staff washroom and custodian room. It was wheelchair accessible and had two outside entrances. The building sat vacant last school year as student enrollment didn’t justify the use of the extra classrooms. The building was removed gradually this summer in four sections, with the last section being removed on August 3. It is reported that if additional classrooms are needed in the future, individual portable classrooms will be added, as is common practice at most schools. 

After the building’s removal, landscaping work quickly commenced. Students this school year are sure to enjoy a very special treat: more yard! It was only a year ago that construction finished on a new section of the main school building, designed as a childcare facility and currently leased to Happyface Nursery School for the use of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Although desperately needed, the new section did take up some precious yard space which has now been returned with the removal of the portapack building. 

The last section of the portapack with its familiar red door, set on wheels and rotated, ready to be hauled away.

Winchester Public School has seen many changes over the years. Adults who went to school there will probably remember when the main entrance was on the north side of the building, with a cozy main office and adjoining principal’s office nestled beside the staff washrooms. The section of the building containing the current main office and principal’s office, as well as the kindergarten classrooms, is less than a decade old. 

The tall, familiar part of the building facing the hospital, known by many as the “tower”, is the oldest part of the building. Based on an engraving at the very top of the structure, it was built in 1926! Its 100-year anniversary is very quickly approaching. Inside the building, at the base of the tower, part of a stone archway can be seen ‑ likely the former outside entrance of the tower, and a reminder that even the section containing the “old” main office was an “addition” at some point in history. 

All of the changes to the beloved local school over a long period of time show progress and a commitment to the education of local youth. Farewell, portapack building! You served your purpose well, and the extra play space you left behind will surely be appreciated in the years ahead!

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