Many people may think of public and private schools as being separate entities, but a new development in Saskatchewan, construction on which broke ground on October 18, will see the two joined together.
Designed as part of the broader Swift Current Integrated Facility, the $51 million project involves the construction of two new schools – the École Centennial and All Saints schools on the same premises. The facility will be jointly operated by a cohort of organizations and will feature shared space to enhance health, welfare and lifelong learning objectives.
While the schools will operate separately, they will share practical and applied arts space, band rooms and a child care facility.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Education Minister Russ Marchuk, students, dignitaries and representatives from the Chinook and Holy Trinity School Divisions gathered on Thursday for the breaking of ground on the project.
Wall says the new concept represents a sensible and innovative approach toward planning and management of facilities.
“As the local MLA, I’ve heard from both school divisions that new schools were important,” Wall says. “If we want to keep growing in Saskatchewan, we have to invest in projects like this. It’s a great day for the 1,000 students that will be attending this facility, and it’s a great day for Swift Current.”
Apart from the two schools, which are scheduled to be completed in September, 2014, the Swift Current Facility will offer a field house and wellness centre, a library and art gallery, a hospital and long-term care facility and an aquatics centre, all of which will be available for student use.
The concept has drawn criticism from some residents, who feel its location in the northeast part of the town is inappropriate.
Currently, the two roads leading to the site have no sidewalks or bus service, and the site has a lot of traffic as these roads lead to the Trans-Canada Highway.
Furthermore, there are fears that many elementary school-aged children would have to cross a railroad and a main highway in order to access the schools.
The City of Swift Current is investigating how these issues can be overcome, with a solution almost certainly including the installation of new walkways.