FORT ST. JOHN – Hundreds of students in Fort St. John are starting the school year in a new school that includes a child care centre and indoor multi-purpose rooms for community use, as Anne Roberts Young Elementary opens its doors next week.
“These modern, healthy learning spaces will help students in Fort St. John thrive,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Our government is investing in fast-growing communities across the province and has consistently made addressing the urgent need for new schools a top priority.”
The province contributed $31.1 million to the cost to build Anne Roberts Young Elementary school and the Peace River North School District contributed $300,000, for a total project budget of $31.4 million. Several portables will be removed from nearby schools or converted to other uses as a result of the new facility. Construction for the school, originally scheduled to open in January 2021, was completed ahead of schedule. The school has capacity for 505 students in kindergarten to Grade 6. The facility will help to accommodate the growing population in Fort St. John, providing a better learning experience to even more students.
“Last week, I had the opportunity to do a walk-through of the school. My excitement grew as I envisioned students operating in the bright learning spaces,” said Helen Gilbert, chair of the Peace River North board of education, in a news release. “The building will facilitate inquiry teaching and hands on learning. The opening of this school has created opportunity in other elementary schools for the creation of new learning spaces. I can hardly wait to visit once students and staff have brought the building to life. All our schools will reawaken on Sept. 10.”
The two-storey facility includes a neighbourhood learning centre with child care, before- and after-school care and multi-purpose spaces for community use.
“As the population of Fort St. John continues to grow, so does the need for more quality, licensed child care spaces,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “By investing in child care spaces on school grounds, we can help busy families with pickups and drop-offs and help young children develop a lifelong appreciation for learning.”
In September 2018, the new Ma Murray Community school opened to accommodate 365 students. With the new Anne Roberts Young Elementary school also ready for students, the Peace River North School District has the K-6 school capacity needed to serve Fort St. John’s families.
These investments in new schools are part of government’s commitment to address the need for more student spaces in fast-growing communities, ensuring every B.C. student has better access to education, community services, recreation and culture.