Children in Fort St. John will have better access to education, community services, recreation and culture, thanks to a new elementary school.
“Our government has committed to addressing the backlog of capital projects in fast-growing communities. We’re investing in our children and working hard to build schools that are desperately needed,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Students deserve to go to school in modern, healthy learning environments, so they can thrive in their education, and succeed in life.”
The new Northeast Elementary school will accommodate the growing population in Fort St. John. Since 2012, the city’s hospital has had more than 600 births each year. The birth rate, combined with 2016 Statistics Canada Census data, indicates there may be hundreds of new students entering the school system yearly for the foreseeable future.
“We’re excited to have approval from the Ministry of Education to move forward on a second new elementary school,” said Jaret Thompson, Peace River North School Board deputy chair. “Our district has been challenged with space pressures for some time, and we’re glad to begin work on this second innovative learning space, situated in the northeast side of the city.”
The Province is providing up to $30.8 million to build Northeast Elementary, and the Peace River North School District will contribute $300,000. Construction is set to begin summer 2019. The school is scheduled to open in fall 2021, with 505 spaces for students in kindergarten to Grade 6. The school will be located across the street from the Fort St. John Hospital on 112th Avenue.
Plans for the two-storey facility include a neighbourhood learning centre with child care, before-and-after school care and multi-purpose spaces for community use. Given the harsh winter climate in northern B.C., indoor sports and activity areas are important. This space will contribute to Fort St. John’s goal of being a healthier community.
“School District 60 (Peace River North) is committed to providing our students with innovative learning spaces in which they can develop their full potential,” said Dave Sloan, Peace River North School District superintendent. “New schools, such as the one being announced today, help us meet that commitment by providing new spaces for our rapidly growing student population.”
This September, the new Margaret (Ma) Murray Community school, on 105th Avenue, will open to 365 students, alleviating some enrolment pressure on neighbouring elementary schools. Once the new Northeast Elementary school is complete, the Peace River North School District should have the K-6 school capacity needed to serve Fort St. John’s families.
- The school name, Northeast Elementary, is temporary. In the Peace River North School District, trustees have a protocol to select a permanent school name later in the process.
- Since September 2017, the B.C. government has approved more than $638 million in capital projects.
- Budget 2018 invests $2 billion in school capital projects over the next three years.
To find out more about the Government of B.C.’s education capital planning program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/administration/resource-management/capital-planning