Right now, it’s a pile of dirt in the Greens on Gardiner neighbourhood, but a few students in Regina were ‘digging’ the new location of one of Regina’s future joint-use schools.
Students helped the project break ground Thursday morning.
“I think it’s going to look really cool and pretty modernized,” said Grade 5 student Jasmine Flaman. She was one of two students who helped Education Minister Don Morgan at the ceremony.
Regina Board of Education chairperson Katherine Gagne and Regina Catholic Schools Board chair Rob Bresciani also joined the ceremonial ‘dig’ to officially mark the partnership between the separate and public school divisions on three joint-use school buildings in the city.
Flaman will be starting Grade 7 when the new school opens in September 2017. She admits it will be kind of scary, but mainly cool to be among the first students at a new school.
“I think W.F. Ready has a pretty healthy learning environment, but I would like the one in this school to be healthier,” she said. “For example, we could have more bulletin boards all over so kids can post things they want to do one day.”
Cade Kennedy will also be among the first students to attend the new school because his family is moving to the new neighbourhood very soon.
“I’m excited. From looking at it, it’s going to be a really cool school and nice and big,” he said.
It will have to be big to make room for about 800 students split between the Saint Elizabeth Catholic School and the so far unnamed public elementary school.
So what would a Grade 5 boy like to see in a new school?
“Good teachers, I guess. That’s everything I would want in a new school,” Kennedy commented.
Another joint-use school will open in Harbour Landing the same year. The third location was recently moved from the Skywood neighbourhood north of Lakeridge to the Coopertown development in northwest Regina.
Education Minister Don Morgan said there was an early concern that the change in location would delay the start of construction, but it is still scheduled to open on time.
“The divisions and the ministry officials tell us that it’s close enough between the two areas and the need is there for both areas and they’ll be able to satisfy it from that location as well,” he said.
When asked about the confidence in the P3 model, Morgan said the government is saving $35 million on construction costs between nine buildings and that was independently audited. He added that the estimated savings on maintenance amount to $65 million over the course of the 30-year contract.