New elementary school for Fort St. John

The province is building a new elementary school in Fort St. John

The new Northeast Elementary school will accommodate the growing population in Fort St. John. Since 2012, the city’s hospital has had more than 600 births each year. The birth rate, combined with 2016 Statistics Canada Census data, indicates there may be hundreds of new students entering the school system yearly for the foreseeable future.

“We’re excited to have approval from the Ministry of Education to move forward on a second new elementary school,” said Jaret Thompson, Peace River North School Board deputy chair, in a news release. “Our district has been challenged with space pressures for some time, and we’re glad to begin work on this second innovative learning space, situated in the northeast side of the city.”

The province is providing up to $30.8 million to build Northeast Elementary, and the Peace River North School District will contribute $300,000. Construction is set to begin summer 2019. The school is scheduled to open in fall 2021, with 505 spaces for students in kindergarten to Grade 6. The school will be located across the street from the Fort St. John Hospital on 112th Avenue.

Plans for the two-storey facility include a neighbourhood learning centre with child care, before-and-after school care and multi-purpose spaces for community use. Given the harsh winter climate in northern B.C., indoor sports and activity areas are important. This space will contribute to Fort St. John’s goal of being a healthier community.

This September, the new Margaret (Ma) Murray Community school, on 105th Avenue, will open to 365 students, alleviating some enrolment pressure on neighbouring elementary schools. Once the new Northeast Elementary school is complete, the Peace River North School District should have the K-6 school capacity needed to serve Fort St. John’s families.

The school name, Northeast Elementary, is temporary. In the Peace River North School District, trustees have a protocol to select a permanent school name later in the process.