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Construction starts on new gymnasium at Upper Halfway school

FORT ST. JOHN – Students at Upper Halfway school in the Peace River School District are a step closer to having a gym of their own.

“A great school is at the heart of every strong community, and our government’s work to invest in schools is one of the many ways we’re making life better for families in B.C.,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care, in a news release. “This September, students across B.C. are heading back to new and improved schools. We’re proud of the work we’ve done to provide students with better places to learn, and we will continue to work closely with school boards to make investments that give students the best educational experience possible.”

The new gymnasium will be accessible and built to LEED Gold standards with construction materials, and mechanical and electrical systems that minimize greenhouse gas emissions and utility costs. A space for the entire community to use, the gym will include features, such as a servery, to support community gatherings.

Construction is expected to be finished in fall 2023, and, when complete, the new gym will support the physical education of students and will be able to offer sports, such as volleyball and basketball, at the school and at community events.

“School District 60 is excited by the opportunities the new gym will bring for our students at Upper Halfway and the community in general,” said Helen Gilbert, chair, Peace River North Board of Education. “The gym will allow for expanded physical education offerings year round.”

The province is contributing up to $5.7 million for the gym at Upper Halfway school. The Peace River North School District is contributing an additional $29,000. The school was originally constructed in 1960 with no gym and students currently use the facilities at the nearby Halfway Graham Community Hall.

Most students at Upper Halfway are from the Halfway River First Nations Reserve and the surrounding Russian- and German-speaking communities. Approximately 65 per cent of students identify as Indigenous and many are English Language Learners, as their primary language is not English.

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