Sept. 4 marked the first day in almost two-years that all of the students were back together at the Lutsel K’e Dene School. (Submitted by Vivian Harris) Lutsel K’e Dene School students are beginning the new school year in a brand-new building.
Approximately 60 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 began classes in a school equipped with a science lab, new classrooms and playground equipment.
Principal Vivian Harris said it’s been a trying process for everyone. Due to the discovery of mould in 2016, classes were dispersed throughout the hamlet as renovations were underway rebuilding the school.
During that time, Harris said students would occasionally gather together so as to not lose their sense of community. It was hard on the older students, she added.
"For the kids, the last two years have been trying for them because they’ve been spread out," said Harris.
"The older kids often said they didn’t feel like they were a part of the school so it’s nice that we’re all under the same roof."
Sept. 4 marked the first day in almost two years that all of the students were brought back together in the building. Lutsel K’e Dene School is showcasing their new look to the public on Sept. 26 (Submitted by Vivian Harris) The renovations to the new school were initially met with hesitation from Lutsel K’e residents, Harris said. However as time went on, support grew.
"I came back in August and I’m just in awe of the amount that went into the building and how beautiful it is and everyone who I’ve talked to in the community has turned around," said Harris.
"It’s been a very positive experience. It started out negative, but [overall] it’s just been positive."
Lutsel K’e Dene School is showcasing their new look to the public on Sept. 26.
Lutsel K’e senior administrative officer Hanna Catholique said she believes the community will take pride in the new school, once it is unveiled to the public.
"I think it will be good for the kids pride and self esteem to be in a nice new building like that," said Catholique. "[The old building] started to look run down … it was getting to small, it was not serving our needs."
Work on the building began in 2016.
This was the first major renovation the school had gone through since it was built in 1985. Mould was found during demolition of the old school building. A project manager has confirmed there is no further threat to students. (Submitted by Greg Hanna) During demolition, members of Taylor Architecture Group found a high concentration of mould.
A project manager from the group confirmed there is no further threat to students.
Taylor Architecture Group is still putting the final touches on the project. Harris said they are still waiting for the completion of a new gym floor and she expects the work to be completed in October.The territorial Department of Education, Culture and Employment did not respond to a request from CBC on the total cost of the project by Thursday evening.
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