Rows of students sat on the polished floor of La Salle School’s new gymnasium watching as a red ribbon was cut on Jan. 28 to officially mark the school’s expansion.
The festivities started with Grade 1 and 2 students singing Flying Free. They are benefiting from the new 5,300-square-foot gymnasium with change rooms and 10,500 square-feet of extra room in six classrooms, two meeting rooms and two bathrooms housed in a two-storey addition that was completed before the end of 2019.
The $11-million addition and renovation at La Salle School (43 Beaudry St.), a kindergarten to Grade 8 English school, includes a new standalone 3,600-square-foot child care centre with 40 child care spaces situated next to the school. The centre is operated by La Salle KIDZ Daycare Inc.
Education minister Kelvin Goertzen attended the opening to cut the ribbon.
"We want you to have a great learning space," he said, adding that the larger school helps to make La Salle a more attractive community for families.
Andrea and Eric Knaggs, parents of a student in kindergarten and one in Grade 2, attended the opening. They moved to La Salle from B.C. last year after looking for a home in a rural community close to Winnipeg. While they didn’t know about the school expansion when they were first investigating relocating to La Salle, they are pleased that their children have the advantage of using the larger space.
"We’re new to the community, but we think it’s fantastic," Andrea said.
"We were excited to see the expansion." Eric said, adding that La Salle’s ongoing residential growth is resulting in a growing number of elementary and middle-years students. The school’s capacity is now 450 students and 349 students were enrolled in September 2019. The school, built in 1991, had a former capacity of 325 students.
"We are very appreciative of the support of the province in assisting us in enhancing the learning environment of the school," said Seine River School Division superintendent Michael Borgfjord. "Students and staff will benefit for many years to come, and the new space is conducive to critical thinking and innovative thinking."
The project meets the Manitoba Green Building Policy and will qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver and Manitoba Power Smart designations.
The next steps in the school’s improvements are landscaping the grounds and constructing a play area later this year.
Community journalist — The Headliner
Andrea Geary is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at email@example.com Call her at 204-697-7124