FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Education Mike Bernier along with School District 60 officials and City of Fort St. John representatives were on hand at the Margaret “Ma” Murray Community School Friday morning to celebrate the start of construction on the $26.6 million school.
The total cost is being paid for by the B.C. government ($22.1 million) and Peace River North School District ($264,000).
The City of Fort St. John is also contributing $2.5 million toward the creation of a extra large gymnasium. The gym will measure at 900 square-metres which is almost 2.5 times the size of a regular school gym.
BC Hydro is also contributing $1.8 million for a new day care which is being built at the school.
The school itself will be able to hold 365 K-6 students (40 kindergarten and 325 elementary spaces).
Bernier says that this school will help with the increasing numbers when it comes to enrolment, not just in Fort St. John but also in the province.
“When you look around the province right now, it is the first time in about 20 years that we have actually seen increased enrolment across the province but I know for people up here it is something we have been seeing for quite a while which is why we need to make sure we are making investments like this.”
Bernier also took the time to acknowledge the work that the School District has done to get this project started and completed by the Spring of 2018.
“I want to start by acknowledging the great work that the school board has done working with myself, working with the Ministry for a project like this and working with BC Hydro, and working with the Municipalities.”
The Education Minister also announced funding for another school. It was announced that École Central Elementary will also receive $516,000 to help with much needed renovations at the school.
Acting Mayor Dan Davies also spoke of the importance of projects like the school, saying the City sees how vital it is.
“We are proud to be a partner in the school. The dirt turning ceremony is an important step to providing education for our growing community. We have seen economic success in our region has put some extra pressures on infrastructure facilities in our entire region and this is one step toward resolving that.
This school captures an incredible piece of North Peace history by recognizing one of our pioneer women, Margaret “Ma” Murray. The naming of this school after a woman who was so invested in literacy and her great contributions to the North Peace is a beautiful legacy for Margaret Murray and her family.”
Margaret Ma Murray received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian Journalism.