John de Graff School is set to grow.
The Province of Manitoba announced a pair of new classrooms will be built at the East Kildonan school, located at 1020 Louelda St., as part of a new initiative to help schools reduce kindergarten to Grade 3 class sizes.
After an announcement at the school on June 19, there was little information available as to where on the property the new classrooms would be built, as well as when they will be constructed, as the project is still in its early stages.
Premier Greg Selinger and Education Minister Nancy Allan were on-hand to make the announcement. Selinger said the schools most in need of the extra space are set to receive it.
"They’re chosen by the professionals based on the demand and the amount of pressure in the school to have additional classrooms," said Selinger. "For example, this school is 400 children. In a K-to-5 school, there’s lots of pressure to provide additional classrooms. It’ll allow us to meet the objective of about 20 children per class."
Principal Margaret Fair has worked at the school for six years, and she has seen more and more students coming into classrooms each September.
"It’s a great support for the students here, and it’s great because of the 20K3 project," she said.
Though not his constituency, Concordia MLA Matt Wiebe lives in the school’s catchment area in Valley Gardens, and will benefit from the expansion when his children, Anna and Noah, hit kindergarten.
"It’s exciting that even in established schools like John de Graff, there’s still growth," he said, noting the boom in Harbour View South has also helped increase the school’s population.
Rossmere MLA Erna Braun was thrilled to see a school in her constituency expand after the province looked intently at schools across the province.
"It was an intensive process that looked at a number of schools," Braun said. "It’s a school that has seen its enrolments increase, and having two additional classrooms for the school is absolutely critical.
"I complimented Minister Allan when she told me that this school had been selected for two additional classrooms."
In all, the province announced 28 classrooms will be built or renovated at a cost of $15 million through the Manitoba Building and Renewal Plan. In Winnipeg, David Livingstone and Sister MacNamara will have one classroom added, Lord Nelson will have two classrooms added, and Lansdowne will have three classrooms added.
As well, École Julie-Riel, Archwood, Assiniboine, Bannatyne and École Robert Browning will all have one classroom renovated. École LaVérendrye will have two classrooms renovated, École Sacré-Coeur will have three classrooms renovated.
Rural schools in Brandon, Blumenort, Kleefeld, and Niverville are also set to expand.