Premier Scott Moe joined with students and staff of Blaine Lake Composite School, Prairie Spirit School Division officials and community members on Friday to celebrate the ground-breaking of the new Blaine Lake K-12 school.
Moe told reporters after the ceremony that being from nearby Shellbrook and growing up with people from Blaine Lake made the project a personal one.
“I think the school does provide that place of education, and it provides that place where so many wonderful teachers educate the next generation,” Moe said
The Blaine Lake school is one of 19 new schools in either the planning, development and construction stages.
“About 56 new builds have been completed across the province,” Moe said. “(There are) about 85 or 86 significant investments, either a new build or a major renovation across the province. There is more to do as we look ahead. That’s why we have 19 in a stage of that process, and there are more stories across Saskatchewan just like this story here in Blaine Lake.”
Saskatchewan-based company Graham Construction and has already begun work on the new school. The Government of Saskatchewan has committed nearly $14 million toward the project, which will replace the old Blaine Lake Composite School.
Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023. Once finished, the new school will accommodate approximately 150 students.
The school’s gym will be large enough to host both school and community events. It will feature an innovative stage with a folding wall which will give it the ability to be a separate space from the gym.
Moe said that the school is more than a place for education. It’s also an important piece of infrastructure.
“We are here in the gymnasium, there’s a stage behind us where graduations, where drama clubs, where sporting events occur,” Moe said. “It is really much more than a place of education or just a building. It’s a place where really the magic can happen in small communities.”
He gave other examples such as hockey arenas and curling rinks as serving similar roles.
The landscaping surrounding the school has been designed to encourage outdoor classroom opportunities. Some of the highlights include plants that are native to the area and can be used for teaching, along with a learning plaza that will include a rock circle.
Prairie Spirit School Division is contributing to the Industrial Arts Space for the project, which will include both woodworking and welding areas.
“On behalf of the Prairie Spirit Board of Education and local Trustees Pam Wieler and Kimberly Greyeyes, I would like to thank the Premier and the provincial government for the investment in a new school to serve our students in the Blaine Lake community,” Prairie Spirit Board Chair Bernie Howe said in a release.
“We are eagerly anticipating the opening of this exciting new school facility which will provide a supportive, innovative and accessible learning environment for our students for many years to come.”
Since 2008, the Government of Saskatchewan has committed approximately $2.3 billion toward school infrastructure projects. These projects include 57 new schools and 28 major renovation projects, along with two projects approved through the new Minor Capital Renewal Program.