Nunavut’s newest school, Iglulik High School opened its doors to students and staff on Aug. 17.
The 3079 square metre facility has a total of 12 classrooms, including six standard classrooms, two reading resource rooms and a classroom designed for each of the following: home studies, trades, science and multipurpose. The multipurpose space can further be divided into two separate rooms, said the Department of Education.
The school also has a library, daycare, weight room and gymnasium. Another feature of the school is a “super accessible” washroom that has an adult size change table, a shower and a ceiling-based lift system, said David Joanasie, Minister of Education.
Iglulik also has two other schools: Sivuniit Middle School, previously known as Ataguttaaluk High School, and Ataguttaaluk Elementary School. The latter was built in 1968, making it one of the oldest schools in the territory.
According to the Department of Education, the age, condition and utilization of the current facility are the main factors used to determine whether a new school will be constructed.
Utilization refers to the school’s total student teaching area capacity and the students attending the school, explained the department. “It is represented as a percentage of the school’s enrollment figures divided by the teaching area capacity of the building,” said the department.
During the 2018-2019 school year, the utilization at the Ataguttaaluk Secondary School, which served Grade 8 to Grade 12 students, was at 115 per cent.
The new high school has the capacity to serve 229 students; enrolled in Grade 10 to Grade 12. The department estimates a utilization rate of approximately 82 per cent for the 2020-2021 school year.
With Igulik High School as the most recent addition, Nunavut now has 45 schools.
Future plans for building schools
The Department of Education is presently in the design phase for two other school building projects; the expansion and renovation of Sakku School in Coral Harbour and the expansion of École des Trois-Soleils in Iqaluit.
The construction of both projects is anticipated to begin next summer.
The department added, “Our target is to tender for construction in January 2021.”
Built in 1979, Sakku School was last renovated in 1995. The plan is to expand the building to include more classrooms and a large gym, and new portable classrooms. The school will get a 10,764-square-foot addition.
Iqaluit’s École des Trois-Soleils, built in 2001, has never been renovated. It will grow by 16,146 sq. ft. to accommodate classrooms for high school students and a spacious gymnasium.
According to the department, Covid-19 has not impacted the design schedule for either school.
“We are not currently forecasting any project delays due to Covid-19 for either Sakku school or École des Trois-Soleils expansions,” said the department.