Although Covid-19 has brought uncertainty regarding how schools will function, there’s still excitement among some residents in Coral Harbour and Iqaluit as major school expansion projects are proceeding.
Coral Harbour’s Sakku School will get a 10,764-square-foot addition that will include a 5,673-square-foot gymnasium and a couple of new classrooms. There’s also plans for a major renovation of Sakku School – built in 1979 and last refurbished in 1994 – and four new portable classrooms will serve as the updated Nunavut Arctic College Community Learning Centre.
Archie Kolit, chair of the Coral Harbour District Education Authority, said the new gym will be welcomed because volleyball is popular in the community and the existing facility’s low ceiling is a major impediment to the sport.
“Everyone’s excited for it, for the expansion especially,” said Kolit.
The new community learning centre may encourage more people to apply and will be a more inviting location for Nunavut Teacher Education Program students, he added.
“Having a new building will be a lot better,” he said.
Accutech Engineering Inc. has been awarded the design contracts for the expansion projects in Coral Harbour and at École des Trois-Soleils in Iqaluit. The Department of Community and Government Services declined to reveal the value of the design contracts “because this project is still in the RFP (request for proposals) process and will remain so until the final contract is awarded,” a department spokesperson stated.
Construction is expected to begin in both communities during summer of 2021.
“Certainly Covid has impacted the design schedule in 2020-21 but we are hopeful we can still hit our target of issuing tenders for construction in March 2021. As such we are not currently forecasting any project delay in regards to Sakku School and École des Trois-Soleils school expansions due to Covid-19,” stated Mark McCulloch, senior manager of procurement for the Department of Community Government Services.
Floor plans and design layouts are being reviewed by the Coral Harbour DEA and Commission scolaire francophone du Nunavut (CSFN) for the respective projects.
Mathieu Parker, president of CSFN, said the expansion of École des Trois-Soleils, which opened in 2002, will help meet growing demand.
“The number of students at the school has been progressively increasing,” he said, noting that francophone high school students are currently forced to attend Inuksuk High School but they’ll be able to carry on their education at Ecole des Trois-Soleil after the 16,146-square-foot addition is complete.
A gymnasium will also be part of the project. The French school currently lacks one and students consequently travel to Aqsarniit Middle School for indoor recreation.
“It will really sort of allow us make this school a fully-functional, full-service school for the francophone community here,” Parker said. “I think the kids are really looking forward to the opportunity to get their own gym.”