Staff, students and parents of Gibsons Elementary School are walking with a bit more spring in their step following the news that they will be getting a new school in 2014.
On Tuesday, officials from School District No. 46 (SD46) were in Victoria to officially put pen to paper on the $14.3 million deal that will construct a new Gibsons Elementary School.
The funding was a long time coming ó†five years, in fact ó with lobbying and discussions between SD46 and the Ministry of Education. What was originally supposed to be a renovation and seismic upgrade to the current school site turned into a project calling for a new, more energy-efficient school through a feasibility study conducted in 2007.
The new school will feature 14 classrooms able to accommodate 300 students in grades 1 to 7 and 40 full-day kindergarten students. The current school serves 281 students in 12 classrooms. The new school will be state-of-the-art and will include a StrongStart centre and neighbourhood learning centre, which will provide the community with additional support services including an early childhood development centre, a health and wellness screening office, a community kitchen and a multi-purpose room.
When completed and opened, scheduled for September 2014, the new school will offer a modern and fantastic place of learning ó one that the whole community can be proud of.
So how did we get to this point? Praise and thanks are in order for the present and past administrative staff and board of SD46, some of whom are no longer with the school district and others who are still working with the district in other capacities.
One person who comes to mind is current GES principal Deborah Luporini, who interrupted the classes on April 24 at 11 a.m. to share the good news with the students.
Luporini was in Victoria three times in the last six months of her term as district superintendent and was instrumental in moving along the discussions.
Board chair Silas White should also be congratulated for his due diligence and efforts. He has been on the board throughout this long and complicated process, and Iím sure he is thrilled to see the funding finally in place.
The effort by all involved also sends a strong, positive message to the young students of GES. Itís a message of perseverance ó that if you work hard, good things will happen to you, and you will be rewarded in the end.
This is a great thing for our district and a milestone worth celebrating.