Recent visitors to the Swan Hills School may have found themselves admiring a comfortable-looking and tastefully decorated room across the foyer from the main office. The space boasts soft lighting, comfy couches, modern furniture, artistic accents… and a fireplace? 

For those who might be wondering, the room in question is the newly renovated Student’s Lounge. 

The Student’s Lounge is available to High School students before classes, during breaks and lunch, and during spares. Junior High students can use it before classes and during their breaks (including lunch). Students are expected to respect and take care of the space, with set consequences for abusing the privilege. Students caught mistreating the Student’s Lounge for the first time are banned from the space for a month. Second-time offenders will be banned for the rest of the semester. After a third offence, the student will be banned for the rest of the year.

This renovation has been the latest successful undertaking in what has been a very accomplished school year for the Division 3/4 Students’ Union (SU). After organizing and carrying out profitable fundraising events, including the Halloween Howler in October and a Christmas raffle in December, the SU has gone on to complete some incredible projects. These endeavours include partnering with the Grizzly Cubs to buy and install a water bottle filling station in the Division 3/4 wing of the school and procuring a new vending machine. They have also purchased over $10,000 worth of furniture over the last five years for the school foyer and Student’s Lounge. The SU is very appreciative of the support they have received from the Swan Hills community, which has allowed them to improve upon the student experience at the Swan Hills School.

The Students’ Lounge renovation funding came from the SU, the school lunch room, and the school budget.

Students’ Union President, Billy Lewis, explains that the SU wanted to revitalize and reenergize the lounge to make it a more welcoming space, jokingly describing the room’s look before the renovations as being “very beige.”

When repainting or renovating areas of the school, the work must be completed by Pembina Hills Division maintenance staff. Roody Munoz is the maintenance staff member who worked on this project, and he went above and beyond in helping the SU to achieve such an incredible end result. After SU reps explained what they had envisioned to Munoz, he provided suggestions and even helped them to negotiate better prices on the room’s key focal point, the electric fireplace.

Where the SU had pictured replacing the wall space that a bulletin board had once occupied with a stacked stone feature, Munoz suggested a fireplace. He came back to the SU with material, carpet, and paint samples for them to choose from. After the SU decided on a paint colour, a tile facing with the appearance of stacked stone, and an electric fireplace from a supplier suggested by Munoz, it all started to come together in a grand fashion. There are frosted effect window stickers still on order that will tastefully block the view into the adjoining rooms to complete the look of the space. The SU is very thankful to Munoz for all he has done to create this fantastic space for students.

The SU still has plans for some items that they would like to add, including metal abstract modern art pieces for the walls on either side of the fireplace and new flooring. Plans are in the works for future fundraising activities to raise the money needed for such improvements.

By Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 27, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Grizzly Gazette   Swan Hills, Alberta

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