New classroom items and furniture pieces were being hauled into the new extension of Ecole Allain St-Cyr School, Wednesday in preparation of a grand opening, next month.

Sylvie Larose, new principal of the school since was overseeing workers moving into the 1,315 square-metre addition, which will include a brand new gym with wood flooring, three classrooms, that includes an instructional, industry kitchen for food preparation classes and lounging areas for student relaxation.

It is very exciting and is a big day for us,” Larose said. “We are very excited to have the gym, but also the nice kitchen and new classes. We can have all the students together, which is something we like.

The fact that you can be together and work together without having to have classes on the other side (at William McDonald School), it is the way a school is supposed to be. We will be like a family.”

Yvonne Careen, superintendent of La Commission Scolaire Francophone des Territoires du Nord-Ouest said the opening is significant because the school board has been battling for more than a decade to get all students under one roof.

There are currently 130 students in the school this year with two more expected to join by the end of November. This is up from 119.5 last year. For the first time since the school opened in 1989, there won’t be a need to share facilities outside of the school.
The school got the occupancy permit from the city this week, which meant that students could begin using the facilities Monday.

When I met the students at the gymnasium when they first came in Monday morning, I was overwhelmed and in tears,” said Careen. “You have to remember that we have been working on getting that construction since 2005.

So it means the world. For once we can have everyone under one roof and we can really develop a sense of identity with the school. We can also offer programming that we were always restricted not to offer because of not offering adequate spaces. We had to go here and there and beg for time. It means everything. ”

The Nov. 6 date will include an official opening ceremony with a ribbon cutting, speeches by dignitaries, a tour of the site, and a hot dog supper. The gym will then open for students vs. Parents/staff members for sports and games competition.

Festivities will carry on the following week as planned events include

A fundraising campaign began in January of this year with a $150,000 target. The campaign is to last until March 2019. Careen said the campaign is at about $90,000 but was unable to give an exact number.
Several important corporate and business donations have come in this year to fund the addition,including YK Motors, which gave $20,000 for the gym scoreboard, Clark Builders, which gave 5,000 for glass backboards. An unidentified person also gave $1,500, Careen said.

Smaller business donations from Overlander Sports ($1,000), Somba K’e Dental ($1,000), and Omega Marine ($1,000).

The gym is a smaller space than what Sir John Franklin or St. Patrick High School currently offer, but they will be able to offer a site where any competitive sport can be played, Careen said. Other items that are planned at the addition include the continued development of use of the industrial kitchen which Etienne Croteau, owner of Flavour Trader is helping coordinate with classroom teachers and a glassed in stage area connected to the gym that will allow for art, drama and music training.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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