A new school to serve students and families in three city centre neighbourhoods is expected to open its doors by the fall of 2024.
An announcement marking the start of the planning and design phase for the $29-million project was made Sept. 15. The school, which will replace the existing King George, Princess Alexandra and Pleasant Hill schools, will be built for approximately 500 students from prekindergarten to Grade 8. Saskatoon Public Schools will partner with the Saskatoon Tribal Council and City of Saskatoon to provide a joint-use facility that will serve the wider community.
"This project is about providing the very best for students, and we thank the provincial government for supporting the King George, Pleasant Hill and Riversdale neighbourhoods by funding this new school," said Board of Education Chair Colleen MacPherson.
"All students are deserving of the kind of innovative learning environment we will create here, a school that will support them in reaching their potential and encourage them on their education journey. As we bring three neighbourhoods together, we will work to strengthen the valuable relationships that already exist in order to build a new learning community."
Premier Scott Moe, Education Minister Gordon Wyant, Mayor Charlie Clark, and Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand were also on hand for the announcement.
"The government recognizes that as communities in and around Saskatoon's city centre continue to grow, we will need to invest more to ensure schools, students and families have access to safe and inclusive learning resources," Moe said. "This new, modern school will support the diverse needs of the community, help them stay focused on learning and make a real difference in their lives."
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2022 and be complete by the fall of 2024. The facility will reflect the needs of the modern classroom and include added community functions and services that will improve the student learning environment.
The school division will ask families with students at King George, Pleasant Hill and Princess Alexandra for input during the planning and design phase. There will be collaboration with partners and local organizations, including the City of Saskatoon and the tribal council, to ensure the needs of the community are met.
"This an opportunity to provide a great school for many students, who will also have access to after-school and evening programming for children, youth and families at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge," Arcand said. "The new school will be a shining star within the neighbourhood providing a sense of hope and opportunity for positive change so people can have a quality life through education."
MacPherson said the school division recognizes the strong relationships and decades of shared histories between families and staff and the important role played by the individual schools in their respective neighbourhoods, however the project is being pursued to provide the best for students.
"While our school division has placed great value on maintaining the more than century-old King George and Pleasant Hill schools and the nearly 60-year-old Princess Alexandra, the maintenance required for these aging facilities totals $68 million," she said. "This amount is impossible for our school division to cover and results in less-than-ideal learning environments for students. Instead, the new school will cost approximately $29 million and will provide the state-of-the-art facility that students deserve. "