After years of pushing for another school in Ste. Anne, the commitment has now been made by the province, as part of a larger school announcement made on Friday morning.
Mayor Yvan St. Vincent says they have been fighting for this new school since 2016.
“I certainly understand there’s a lot of demand and stresses, and dollars are limited,” he says. “Our school complex in Ste. Anne for Seine River has been bursting at the seams for many, many years.”
With anywhere from eight to 10 huts at the school complex, St. Vincent says a new high school is overdue.
“As we kept adding huts, we were hoping we were close (to getting a new school),” he says. “And now, finally today, the great announcement.”
The province has promised a new Grade 9 to 12 vocational school for the community, and it will include a daycare center.
“Fifty percent of me is excited as an educator in the Seine River School Division to see this happening in my division,” St. Vincent says. “The other 50 percent is ecstatic as the town mayor because the childcare spots are a huge need.”
This new school will be constructed on 15 acres in the northeast corner of the town, west of Caledonia Road, he notes.
Seine River School Board Chair Wendy Bloomfield was also in attendance for the provincial announcement on Friday morning.
“I am just absolutely so excited,” she says. “I’m so excited for the Seine River School Division, and so excited for the Town of Ste. Anne. This is a long time coming.”
The board had been advocating for a new vocational school in Ste. Anne, to ease pressure on the bursting school complex while offering students vocational courses which are in demand.
“For years, we were able to send some of our students who were requiring high school vocational programing into Steinbach Regional,” Bloomfield says. “But they are at capacity, probably over capacity, so we haven't really had that option for our students. So, this is really exciting.”
The province anticipates the new school to be completed in 2027.
“Four years (of waiting) is still a long time but at least we know it’s in the works,” says Bloomfield.
With the provincial approval, the design phase can now get underway. She notes there is a lot of work that has to take place before we see physical construction begin. When the shovels hit the ground, she expects it will only take around 18 months for the doors to open to students.