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School’s back in session

New Kleinburg PS building set to welcome kids Sept. 8

OLD MEETS NEW: Kleinburg PS principal Angie Furlin unveils the proud new home of the old school's bell Tuesday. Staff is hard at work getting ready for Sept. 8. (Philip Alves/Vaughan Today)

KLEINBURG – There’s no denying it — there is a definite buzz in the halls of the new Kleinburg Public School.

After a year of making due at Michael Cranny PS, staff are busy working alongside construction workers to put the finishing touches on their new school, which is set to welcome students come Sept. 8.

Even 65-year-old John Cacciola, a 19-year caretaker at the school on the verge of retirement, is back to lend a hand.

“It’s a lot of work,” he said Tuesday. “But everybody does something. Everybody tries to pitch in.”

He’d tried to retire several times but was convinced to stay on to help with the move, principal Angie Furlin said. In fact, it was Furlin who did the convincing.

“This poor man has been trying to retire for years,” she said. “He was with us and he was trying to retire and I said to him, ‘We need you to move to the (new) school’.”

The old Kleinburg PS, built in 1955, was demolished in the summer of 2008 to make way for the modern, spacious school, which will offer teachers luxuries they previously went without, like a staff room.

“The teachers gave up the staff room for a class, so we had a corner of the library,” Furlin said. “I had no office, I gave up my office a few years before.

“Two teachers shared rooms. It was very complicated.”

Still, she added, the old building had character.

“This is a new building,” she said. “We still have to make it home.

“When you walked in the old building, you’d see the plaques, the old pictures. . . . Everywhere you went, the walls were alive.”

It’ll take time, Furlin said, but the new Kleinburg PS will be that way too, and a couple of cherished keepsakes from the old building will help it get there.

“Everybody contacted me (saying): ‘You’ve got to take down the bell. They’re going to steal the bell,’ ” she said.

Today, the old bell is safely on display near the school’s main entrance.

The old school sign almost suffered a different fate. It was stolen before construction began but was anonymously returned after public outcry. Now newly refurbished by the school board, it’ll proudly be displayed inside.

“That sign there, it means a lot to a lot of people,” Cacciola said.

He’ll finally get to retire in a month, he said, his love for the school evident in the smile across his face.

“I wish I could stay longer because it’s a nice school, a nice community, nice teachers, nice parents,” Cacciola said. “It’s beautiful. It’s a big change.”

In print: September 4, 2009, page 1.

Vaughan Today
In print: September 4, 2009, page 1
Online: September 3, 2009 [link]