Shovels broke the soil to start work on a new school that has been more than a decade in the making.
Planning to build a new Quesnel Junior School began in 2005. Four education ministers later, work has finally begun at the site, right next to the current Quesnel Junior School (QJS) on Mountain Ash Road.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on a cold Tuesday, Oct. 20 morning, attended by City of Quesnel officials, school board trustees, students and teachers.
“As I was preparing today, I had to make the font bigger and bigger, and I still need to wear my glasses — that’s how long I’ve been on the project,” Quesnel School District superintendent Sue-Ellen Miller quipped about the length of the project. “Staff, students, parents and the community have been part of our lobbying, and now they’re part of the planning for this new school.”
Attendance was restricted to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Principal Trish Simpson introduced students, crediting them for sacrificing despite never getting a chance to learn in the new school.
“Their generosity is going to allow us to live though the experience gracefully,” she said. “There are many challenges ahead for us … Our students are the future, and that’s why you’re all standing here.”
The school will cost more than $50 million to build, and it should be completed by 2022. The provincial government announced in July 2019 that it would provide up to $52.2 million for the brand-new facility.
Construction will be completed by Jen-Col Construction, based on designs from CHP Architects.
“This new school is uniquely positioned to benefit most students in the Quesnel School District,” school board chair Dave Chapman said. “All of our Grade 8 and 9 students will have the opportunity to enjoy this new facility and its modern equipment and resources.”
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