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French school to expand

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 06/06) - After three years of negotiations with the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government, Ecole Allain St. Cyr will be receiving nearly $4 million for expansion.

Andre Legare, chairperson of the Commission Scolaire Francophone, said there will be two phases to the expansion. The first will involve two or three additional classrooms and the restructuring of the administration area as well as other parts of the school.

"It will give more classrooms and more space for our high school students," he said.

Phase two will see some additional classrooms and a gym added, which Legare thinks will make the school more competitive with the high schools.

"The gym is very, very much the heart of phase two," he said. "We're trying very hard to compete, but it's very hard if you don't have the infrastructure."

Legare projects that the restoration and the two new classes will be ready by August 2007.

The federal government's contribution towards the expansion is $1.3 million over two years. Another $2.5 million will come from the GNWT.

The two governments signed an agreement in March providing $9.5 million in funding to Ecole Allain St. Cyr over four years.

The GNWT's initial $2.5 million came as a result of a court order in August 2005. The Supreme Court, reacting to a lawsuit filed by parents, ruled that the GNWT was to help improve the school's situation.

"We could have just done the minimum," Education Minister Charles Dent said, which would have been to provide two portable classrooms to increase school space.

However, Dent said that the federal government's extra $1.3 million allowed them to pool money to afford more.