B.C. family buys up former school, turns gym into axe-throwing range
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:53PM PDT
A Vancouver Island family is giving new meaning to home-schooling by putting down roots in a former elementary school complete with lockers, classrooms and tiny toilets.
Last year, Stephanie and Jackson Middleton bought five acres of land including what used to be Beacon Christian School in Nanoose Bay.
They’ve been adjusting to a unique new way of life along with their four home-schooled children ever since.
“It’s not conventional, and then again, I don’t think we’re conventional people,” said Jackson. “There are more toilets around here than I know what to do with. Every room you open, there are toilets, and they’re kid-sized toilets.”
The family has put their own touch on the property, transforming an old Kindergarten class into their main living room.
A former staff room has since been turned into a pantry, or as Jackson puts it: “This used to be paper clips, and is now tikka masala and oregano.”
Meanwhile, running isn’t banned in the school’s hallways – in fact, it’s encouraged.
“It’s fun to say we live in a school, and why not keep as much of that as we can?” said Stephanie.
While it’s a “quirky” way of life, Jackson thinks the non-traditional home will be beneficial for his kids.
“We’re raising our kids in a way that we’re showing them they don’t have to conform to cultural norms,” he said.
The property gets even more unique when you see what the Middletons have installed in what used to be a 3,000-square-foot gymnasium: an axe-throwing range.
“It’s a lot of fun! I mean, throwing axes is fun,” said Jackson. “This was a gymnasium of course used for the school, and then there was a church in here.”
The range is separated from the main building by a breezeway, and kids aren’t allowed inside.
Outside, next to a fully intact playground is a garden and free-range chickens.
“We want to teach them about sustainable living and where food comes from, and just to live healthy lifestyles,” said Stephanie.
But the family isn’t planning on keeping the entire school to themselves.
The Middletons hope to eventually open up vacant classrooms for community events.
“For art classes, for pottery, for woodworking. We don’t know, it’s a school. There’s great potential here,” said Jackson.