Guests at a series of open house consultations and presentations on November 17 at Prairieland Park entered a room filled with conceptual drawings, tentative floor plans, a 3-D model and a “virtual explorer” view of select areas for a new St. Frances Cree Bilingual School. What once seemed like a distant, elusive notion, is now a significant and tangible step closer to becoming reality.
GSCS Board of Education Chair Diane Boyko said that having concepts to look at, review and discuss is one of many milestones along the journey of a new physical home for the division’s Cree bilingual program—the largest Indigenous language program in Canada.
“The destination has been clear from the start, and many people—many who are in this room—have done a lot of work to get us here together,” said Boyko. “I think we are at a point in our journey where we can now see our destination on the horizon. Remembering milestones is important, but the excitement builds when the end goal gets closer and closer, and our gaze turns more and more to what lies ahead.”
Elders Shirely Arcand and John Merasty opened each session with prayer. Representatives from partner-in-education Saskatoon Tribal Council, the school’s parent advocacy group, and architectural firm Kindrachuk Agrey Architecture also addressed students, parents, partners and other guests in attendance.
Students had the opportunity to do hands on activities with robotics kits to demonstrate the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) programming planned for the new building that will be located on the corner of 7th Street East and Grosvenor avenue (the former home of Sion Middle School that was demolished earlier this fall).
Construction of the new school is expected to begin in the spring of 2022.
*Note: All drawings, concepts and designs are draft and subject to change.