NEEPAWA—Students and families will soon benefit from a major addition to Neepawa Area Collegiate that includes a new child care centre, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart and Indigenous and Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today.
“School enrolment in the area has increased by 33 per cent over the last 10 years and further growth is anticipated,” said Wishart. “Today’s announcement is exciting news for one of Manitoba’s fastest growing communities.”
Wishart noted the significant 38,000-square-foot addition will create a middle years “school within a school” to accommodate up to 450 students in Grades 5 to 8. Nine classrooms and a gymnasium, library, band room, art room and multipurpose room will be added, he said. There are currently eight middle years classrooms.
The middle years and high school buildings will be connected and have a campus setting, sharing the sports fields, bus loop and parking lots. When complete, the addition will allow the school division to realign grades at the nearby Hazel M. Kellington School to create a kindergarten to Grade 4 school. Its existing modular classrooms will be removed.
The province is also investing in a new stand-alone child-care centre on the high school grounds. The new 6,000-square foot centre will accommodate 20 infants and 54 pre-school children, creating a total of 74 new spaces.
“This region has been reinvigorated by families from around the world who have relocated here thanks in part to the success of Hylife’s pork processing plant,” said Clarke. “I’m especially pleased to see the addition of an early learning centre which will help provide children in the community with a good start in life, while making the most of existing school infrastructure, such as gyms and playgrounds, year-round.”
John McNeily, Beautiful Plains School Division board chair, welcomed today’s announcement.
“This is an exciting day for the Beautiful Plains School Division and the communities and students we serve,” said McNeily. “With the announcement, we formally begin the exciting journey to provide additional quality learning space for our students and we are extremely appreciative of the government’s recognition of the space needs we have in our Neepawa schools. We look forward to providing a new, uncrowded environment for learning in the middle years and we’re pleased the growing population of Neepawa will soon benefit from improved access to professional care for their children through the addition of the new, stand-alone child-care centre.”
Wishart noted the project will be supported through more than $92.4 million in planned capital spending by the province in 2017-18 for public school infrastructure projects, prioritizing the health and safety of students and educators and accommodating growing student enrolment across Manitoba. There are approximately 185,000 students enrolled in nearly 700 kindergarten to Grade 12 public schools in the province.
The project is expected to be tendered for construction in early 2018 and the new school space and child-care centre is scheduled to open in September 2019.