Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (Yk1) and the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) have agreed to look at designs for a new school at J.H. Sissons, following a meeting with architects last month.

Assistant Deputy Minister Olin Lovely stated in an emailed statement that the parties met Oct. 25 to talk about design options for the aging school.

Sissons hasn’t undergone renovations since its creation in 1975.

“The logical response was a new school would be the preferred option,” said John Stephenson, Yk1 board chair, adding trustees discussed the issue at their Tuesday board meeting.

Another other option was to renovate the existing school, but Stephenson said the department agreed building a new school would be more cost-effective.

Miles Welsh, Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) board chair, left, presents Nigel Moorhouse, treasurer of the Yellowknife Association for Community Living, with a donation of $5,847 on Wednesday evening at the district office. Staff raised money for four local charities over the last year by donating $2 on “casual Fridays.” They raised nearly $14,000 altogether, with $2,710.50 going to the Salvation Army, $2,656 to the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith and $2,338.50 to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. Kirsten Fenn/NNSL photo

While nobody is putting shovels in the dirt just yet, he described the update as a positive step towards a long-term solution for the decades-old building.

Yk1 will talk about the plan with parents and ensure student learning is not disrupted if a new school is built, Stephenson added.

For now, more planning is underway.

“The planning study, along with a final preliminary estimate and a schematic design are expected to be completed by ECE at the end of March 2018,” said Lovely. “Based on the cost and scope of the work, it will be submitted for further GNWT review and funding as part of the capital planning process.”

St. Joseph School adds fourth Jr. K class

The Catholic school board passed a motion Wednesday evening to add $15,000 to their budget in order to supply an additional junior kindergarten class at Ecole St. Joseph School with class materials.

A fourth junior kindergarten class has been added at the school, said Claudia Parker, Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) superintendent.

The district has six junior kindergarten classes altogether this year – four at St. Joe’s and two at Weledeh Catholic School.

“The (Department of Education, Culture and Employment) provided $15,000 for every JK classroom, to set it up, to buy the furniture and equipment that was needed and resources for learning,” said Parker. “As a result of us opening our fourth JK (class) at St. Joe’s, they provided us another $15,000 to prep that classroom.”

Miles Welsh, board chair, called the addition a positive sign.

“We’re excited that parents are choosing Yellowknife Catholic Schools,” said Welsh. “They know the good stuff that’s going on here.”

Board leadership remains status quo

Little has changed at the helm of two Yellowknife school boards following board chair and vice-chair elections this week.

On Tuesday evening, John Stephenson was once again chosen as chair for Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (Yk1), while Allan Shortt took the position of vice-chair.

Shortt had been serving as acting vice-chair after Duff Spence left the position earlier this year when he relocated to Alberta.

Both positions were acclaimed, according to Stephenson.

Miles Welsh and Erin Currie remain in their roles as board chair and vice-chair, respectively, at Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) following an election at the district office Wednesday evening.

Both YCS positions were also acclaimed.

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