FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — One Fort St. John school has broken ground while another has officially opened.
On Sept. 27, students, government officials and other dignitaries marked the start of construction of a new elementary school located in School District 60 (SD60) of Fort St. John. The Province of British Columbia is investing $31.1 million into the project, with the Peace River School District contributing $300,000.
The new school was announced in June and will have 505 spaces for students from kindergarten to Grade 6.
“SD60 is extremely pleased to be starting construction on another new elementary school. This project, with adequate, innovative spaces for our students, would not be going forward without the advocacy and support of so many people,” said Peace River North School Board secretary treasurer Brenda Hooker in a statement.
Construction for the new school is already underway with doors opening in fall 2021.
Another Fort St. John School, Margaret (Ma) Murray Community School (MMMCS), held its grand opening Sept. 27. The school has 365 student spaces, a roof structure with wooden ribs resembling a canoe, birch-bark details and garage-style doors for easy movement between a large community accessible gym and learning studios.
The B.C. Ministry of Education provided $22.1 million to the project, with the City of Fort. St. John adding $2.5 million for the gym expansion. BC Hydro contributed $1.8 million for the school’s daycare, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development gave a grant worth $500,000 to help equip the centre. The Peace River North School District provided $264,000.
The school also features the Bella Yahey Gathering Centre. Yahey’s youngest grandson, Chief Marvin Yahey, along with drummers from the Blueberry River First Nation acknowledged the Dane-zaa traditional territory and blessed the new school at its opening.
“It is extremely gratifying to see the project go from an idea to a vision on an architect’s drawing, to the stunning building we see before us. Margaret (Ma) Murray Community school is another example of partnerships in action that will benefit the district and local communities well into the future,” said Peace River North School District assistant superintendent Doug Boyd.