Elementary students in Fort Severn First Nation will study in a new school once construction is completed in a few years.
The federal government announced on Aug. 9 that it has committed funding to construct a new school for the northernmost community in Ontario, replacing the Washaho elementary school, which is located in a series of portables.
According to the Fort Severn First Nation website, the classrooms in the current school do not have enough computers or support for technology use. In the computer lab, there are 12 computers but only six work. Most are over five years old. In one classroom, there is no way to play a DVD.
Fort Severn Chief Matthew Kakekaspan welcomed the news of a new school.
“It will give hope and encouragement for our youngest students, who represent our future,” Kakekaspan said in a media release. “The school will help to support their long-term educational success through this important infrastructure initiative.”
The school project is part of the $175 million committed to First Nations across Canada for new schools and major renovations included in the federal government’s Economic Action Plan 2012.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development of Canada minister John Duncan said the project is part of the federal government’s commitment to improving school infrastructures on reserves.
“Today we celebrate the first school infrastructure announcement under Economic Action Plan 2012, a demonstration of our government’s commitment to working with First Nation partners across Canada to deliver tangible and lasting results for First Nation students,” he said in a release.
Parliamentary secretary and Kenora MP Greg Rickford added that the construction phase will create employment and training opportunities for the community.
The First Nation will be responsible for managing all aspects of the school’s construction, including administration. Project costs will be finalized once the competitive tendering process has been completed.
Fort Severn has a membership of about 621, with an on-reserve population of about 492 members.
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