WONOWON, B.C. — The provincial government is providing $16.8 million to partially replace Wonowon Elementary School.
The partial replacement will include an upgrade to the existing water well and filtration system, space for 20 additional student seats as well as the installation of ramps to make the school more accessible.
Helen Gilbert, chair of the Peace River North Board Of Education, says the board is referring to the upgrades as a partial replacement because they will be building around the existing gym.
“The gym is actually a former community hall that got put onto the school,” said Gilbert.
“When we were applying for funding, the partial replacement was something that we knew we would get, and the community’s wish was to get better classrooms and more space to do most of the educational program. Hence the focus on replacing everything but the gym.”
According to a release from the province, the funding will allow students and families in Wonowon to have access to a “more modern and improved elementary school.”
Minister of Education and Child Care Rachna Singh says the provincial government is “committed to building, expanding, and upgrading schools throughout B.C.”
“In remote communities like Wonowon, schools are more than just classrooms,” said Singh.
“We are making historic investments to ensure all communities have access to schools that are engaging community hubs.”
Gilbert says the board is “pleased” to see the approval of funding for the partial replacement.
“The ministry’s recognition of the need for a modern facility for this rural community is appreciated,” said Gilbert.
“An updated facility will improve the equity of opportunity and allow us to meet the education and safety needs of our students in this area.”
The investment in the partial replacement of Wonowon Elementary School builds on $58 million provided to School District 60 by the provincial government since 2017. Upgrades within the district since then include a new gym at Upper Halfway Elementary School, the construction of Anne Roberts Young School and Margaret ‘Ma’ Murray School.
Construction on the partial replacement of Wonowon Elementary School is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2024 and will be ready for students in the fall of 2025.