The GNWT will be proceeding with a replacement for JH Sissons School at its existing site following an announcement, today.

The department of Education, Culture and Employment issued a press release stating that following a geotechnical study contracted by the government, the aging elementary school’s 5700 51A Avenue location was determined to be the best location for a new building.

Construction will begin in August 2020 and take place over a two-year period, according to the release.

A replacement for J.H. Sissons School will begin construction in August 2020 following an announcement by the GNWT, Friday. Over the past year, a geotechnical assessment was done of the property and the existing site was determined to be the best location.
NNSL file photo

“The study concluded that the original site, where the school currently stands, is the most viable and stable location for both current and future use,” read the release.

According to the press release, Caroline Cochrane, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, accepted the geotechnical study’s findings and recommendations and that this has been communicated to the Yk 1 Education District school board of trustees.

Rachell Simmons, who has been principal at the school for four years, said although the news is not a surprise, it is a positive development that there will be a replacement.

“It is awesome and wonderful that a new school is being built,” she said.

“I’m not surprised because it has been in the works for a while regards to constructing at the same location.”

Simmons said the next step in preparation for the construction will be creating a plan as to where students will be placed during construction, and it will be up to the education district to come up with a direction.

“We know that the students will be displaced and that we need to have a plan in place to move the students, the material, the personnel and we have to consider where are they are going to go and what will be put in place at that new location. We have to take into consideration that we’re a JK to Grade 5 and so wherever the place is, there will need to be some changes to that location.”

A public information meeting will take place with the study’s results on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. in the J.H. Sissons School gym. Simmons said she will be in attendance with other school principals from the district and a representative from the department of Education, Culture and Employment, Yk 1  are Education District superintendent Metro Huculak expected. Parents and families are invited to attend.

The school is at 109 per cent capacity and Simmons said rooms that were otherwise designed for other purposes have been made into classrooms, she said.

“The children are definitely used to it and so are the personnel and it something we have lived with and embrace in a new school,” she said.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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