Six years ago, the people of Manitoba’s Lake St. Martin First Nation, an aboriginal community on the northern shore of a lake of the same name, were forced from their homes by a large scale flood that utterly destroyed the place. Now, years after more than 1,000 residents were uprooted, they are looking forward to finally reconstituting their community at a new location.
Already a road to the new town site has been built and a water treatment plant and sewage lagoon are in place.
On April 13, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to inaugurate a key piece in every viable community, a new school.
Phil Cesario, P.M. Associates Ltd.’s project manager for the new school, reports that construction is well underway on the new kindergarten to Grade 12 school. The community’s former school was only kindergarten to Grade 8 and was housed in trailers.
"The soil conditions look good," Cesario says. "The foundations are in. We are not anticipating any surprises or problems with delivery despite the relative remoteness of the site," which is about 280 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.
The $18-million school will be able to accommodate a minimum of 500 students and includes sports facilities such as a running track around a soccer pitch, a baseball diamond and an outdoor rink.
Cesario reports that the school will be insulated to a level above the standard building code requirements.
He adds that the HVAC systems will be digitally-operated and will allow for night air to come in and cool the building, thereby relieving pressure from the air conditioning system.
"We are meeting all the new Manitoba Hydro requirements and working with Hydro to implement some of its Power Smart suggestions," he says. "We are going to be installing, for example, LED lighting throughout the building and motion sensors in the classrooms that will automatically turn off the lights when there is no one in the room."
He states that the principal contractor is Penn-co Construction Canada.
There will be 40 subtrades working on site.
The school is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in time for the 2018-19 school year.
In addition to the school, 150 houses are under construction for the Lake St. Martin residents and are expected to be completed by November.