Upper Halfway school receiving $5.72 million from province for new gym

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Students at Upper Halfway school will no longer have to go to a local community hall for…

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Students at Upper Halfway school will no longer have to go to a local community hall for indoor activity.

The B.C. government is investing $5.72 million, and School District 60 is doling out $29,000 for a new gymnasium for the school.

Upper Halfway students currently access the Halfway Graham Community Hall for limited indoor play. The Province says the hall is not wheelchair accessible, has no washroom facilities and is located 300 metres from the school along a path that requires plowing in winter.

“The addition of a fully accessible gymnasium space will allow students to build a wide range of physical literacy skills. The gymnasium will be tied into a kitchen facility, so it will be easy to host school and community events. We look forward to working with our partners to make this new space a central one to the community,” said Helen Gilbert, SD 60 board chair.

The new gymnasium will be accessible and built to LEED Gold standards with construction materials, and mechanical and electrical systems that minimize emissions and utility costs, said the Province.

The gym will also include cultural education components with input from the local First Nations and school community to support physical education and community events.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2022.

Upper Halfway is a kindergarten to Grade 10 school, with most students being from the Halfway River First Nations Reserve and surrounding Russian- and German-speaking communities.

Around 65 per cent of the students identify as Indigenous, and many are English Language Learners, said the Province.

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