First Three Oaks teachers, students move into new spaces

A new culinary arts food lab is part of the first completed renovations at Summerside's Three Oaks High School.

Investing in infrastructure -

As one of the first six Three Oaks High School teachers to move into their renovated classrooms, grade 12 English and history teacher Sarah-Jane Dixon says she’s excited about the new learning environment.

The initial work of the $22.6 million Three Oaks renovation began in March at the MacEwen Road end of the school and was completed this month. Dixon said the new classroom configuration allows teachers to address multiple student needs, from those who thrive in large-group discussions to those more likely to speak out in smaller groups.

“We used to have one window per classroom and now classrooms have at least two, so the kids are more alert, awake, and alive,” she said. “Rather than dark, closed-in hallways, we have windows with benches and breakout rooms where students can do project work that helps them gain 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.”

Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Jordan Brown said the 160,000 square-foot Three Oaks project will be a major renovation of the entire school once it is completed in 2019.

“The new Three Oaks High School will offer a modern and spacious learning environment that is much better organized to deliver today’s high school curriculum,” the minister said.

Work completed so far (24,000 square feet) included:

  • a block of nine classrooms upgraded with new windows, flooring, ceiling, and lighting;
  • new breakout study rooms;
  • a new 100-seat black box theatre, sound booth, washrooms and storage areas;
  • a culinary arts food lab and classroom with new food and cold storage areas;
  • upgraded boiler room with a biomass heating system and new propane boilers;
  • new air handling systems, upgraded heating system, interactive projectors, wireless technology, and reinforced sound systems in all classrooms;
  • 50,000 square feet of roofing;
  • offices and meeting rooms for student services and a temporary home for high school administration; and
  • upgraded student washrooms and the teacher planning center.

“Kids are really excited to be here, I think we will have healthier students and staff because you just feel good in here,” said Rochelle Sullivan, who teaches foods, nutrition, and culinary courses at Three Oaks. “With a huge, bright and interconnected culinary classroom and lab, we can have many students working at the same time. Modern equipment such as large walk-in coolers, freezers and an industrial dishwasher are a huge advantage over the old lab, which was 40 years old and pretty similar to when the school opened in 1976.”

Construction currently underway includes renovations to the library and lecture theatre, physics lab and classroom, new inclusive education and independent study areas, and expanded band room and practice rooms.

A new outdoor track and field facility - also under construction - is a significant investment in the well-being of students, staff, and the community.

“This is the largest, most complex school construction project ever undertaken in our province,” noted Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Paula Biggar. “We are pleased to see it moving forward with minimal disruption to teaching and learning.”

Remaining work will include renovation of the final 18 classrooms, cafeteria, science labs, gym spaces, and administrative areas.

Media contacts:

Jean Doherty
Education, Early Learning and Culture

April Gallant
Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy

General Inquiries

Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Holman Centre
Suite 101, 250 Water Street
Summerside, PE C1N 1B6

Phone: 902-438-4130
Fax: 902-438-4062