École Įtłʼǫ̀, the replacement for J. H. Sissons School on 51A Avenue, has officially been completed.
“The opening of the school means students and school staff will be in the new facility to kick off the 2022-2023 school year,” reads a notice from YK1.
The first day of classes will be Aug. 29. A grand opening is being scheduled for later in the school year.
École Įtłʼǫ̀ – pronounced EE-k-lo – is Yellowknife’s first new school in 20 years.
Meaning cranberry in the Wiliideh language, Itlʼo is significant because of its connection to the land.
“The site on which the school sits used to be a common berry picking area for Wiliideh Yellowknives families, who held a spiritual significance to cranberries,” continues the notice.
“The new facility features 18 junior kindergarten to Grade 5 classrooms with modern technology; state-of-the-art, energy-efficient appliances; interactive white boards; a foods room; music space; project studio; larger gym; and a centrally-located library at the heart of the school that features quiet spaces.”
“I am thrilled for the students and staff,” said Terry Brookes, chairperson of Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1). “They have the honour to be the first to learn and teach at Ecole Itl’o starting next week. Ecole Itl’o will mark an exciting new chapter for education in Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories. I would like to thank everyone who made this brand new, state-of-the-art facility a reality for our community.”
An Indigenous consultant helped by assisting with the design of the building, resulting in elements such as “circular spaces, wayfinding and colour selections.”
The artwork was done by Chipewyan Dene artist John Rombough. It will be featured on the interior east wall of the library.
The two-year construction of Ecole Itl’o was completed on time and on budget, according to the GNWT.
“I’m so excited to welcome staff and students to Ecole Itl’o,” said R. J. Simpson, minister of Education, Culture and Employment. “From the furniture to the artwork to the architecture, Ecole Itl’o is a truly impressive facility. The new school will provide a stimulating and productive learning environment that will be a centre of community activity for years to come. I look forward to celebrating the opening of Ecole Itl’o in the near future.”