The province made the announcement on Saturday. With funding of $2.1 million, the new elementary school building will be constructed at the corner of Vancouver Street and 3e Ave.
The end date of the work has not yet been determined.
The current school opened in fall 2019 in rental space on Fulton Avenue, less than 1 mile from the new location in downtown Smithers. Seven students initially enrolled, and the small school’s enrollment has since grown to 16.
” I jump for joy. I’m feverish, so happy, I’m still under the influence of emotions. It’s wonderful news, it’s the best Christmas gift we could give to the parents of the community. »
Marie-Eve Gauthier, a mother of two who attends school, and whose third child will start kindergarten next year, says that acquiring land takes the stress out of having to renew a lease every year.
It’s also a turning point for the school because we have the certainty that we can plan for the future, says Ms. Gauthier. We can open our programs, we can develop them. We are not always saying to ourselves, “Ah! We could perhaps make a park, but it would have to be transportable, because perhaps, in two or three years, we will be leaving !”
The president of the school’s parents’ association, Mark Dwyer, hopes the news will help recruitment.
” It’s hard enough to attract teachers, but to attract teachers without a school or with a lease that expires in a year, it’s getting harder and harder. So this news is fantastic and it will ease the nerves a bit for some who are associated with the school. »
Mr. Dwyer is pleased that the new school is next to a green space, and that it increases the visibility of the French-speaking community in Smithers. He adds that he would like parents to be able to help with the planning of the new place, considering, for example, the addition of a multipurpose room for events in the Francophone community, in a municipality where these spaces are scarce.
Province Reiterates Commitment to French-Language Education
The province announced the acquisition of the land in a press release on Saturday morning.
It is very important that families whose mother tongue is French can send their children to a French school near their home said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Services, in the press release.
The president of the board of directors of the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF), Marie-Pierre Lavoie, as well as the president of the province’s Fédération des parents francophones, Marie-Andrée Asselin, agree.
Often, the school is the heart of our francophone communities, so [l’acquisition du terrain] is really something that is very important, that is major!said Ms. Asselin.
Until the new building is built, the province says it will work with the CSFto temporarily house students.