Parents tour new digs
$10 million Weledeh school project on budget, on schedule

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 02/00) - With an international-size gym, a high-tech solar wall to reduce energy costs and 4,800 square metres of new space, the new Weledeh school promises to be one of the finest teaching facilities in the North.

"Right now, it's all on budget and on schedule," said Pinn/Matthews Architect Simon Taylor.

"It will be completed this summer with the intention of moving students in by September."

That's good news for Weledeh principal John Murphy. Murphy took members of the Weledeh Parents Advisory Committee (PAC) on a tour of the construction site Tuesday and was proud to help them visualize what the finished product would look like.

"The building we were in served us well but we're really looking forward to the move in September, and so are the kids," said Murphy.

"The expenditure for the new school ($10 million) is obviously worth it. The new building is projected to last 40 years, and on opening day it will run much more efficiently than the old school, saving us money in the long run."

The new Weledeh gym will be attached to the neighbouring St. Patrick high school gym with a foldable partition between. The two-storey design of the school allows for maximum use of natural lighting.

Yellowknife Catholic Schools superintendent Kern Von Hagen said the new structure should be enclosed in the next two weeks which will allow the workers to really move ahead. He added that by July, the current Weledeh school will be knocked down.

"What it means for our school district is that we have three quality facilities. The needs of our students are going to be served and we have a safer environment to be working in," said Von Hagen.

PAC co-chair Sharon Morrison has two sons that will be enroled in the new school. The tour of the construction site really opened her eyes to the new school's potential.

"As a parent I'm impressed with the design and use of natural lighting," said Morrison.

"The infrastructure and (the) inside, as designed, will have a positive effect on student's participation in education. Teachers and students can only benefit from such a positive and welcoming work environment."