Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut March 10, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Kugaaruk’s new school to be completed in 2019, Nunavut government says

But the new facility will have a "resource centre," not a library

Kugaardjuq school was destroyed in an overnight fire March 1, 2017. A new facility has been designed and should be constructed and open by August 2019, Nunavut's Department of Education announced this past week. (FILE PHOTO)
Kugaardjuq school was destroyed in an overnight fire March 1, 2017. A new facility has been designed and should be constructed and open by August 2019, Nunavut's Department of Education announced this past week. (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated, March 16, 2 p.m.)

Kugaaruk’s new school is on track to be completed and open to students in time for the 2019-20 school year, Nunavut MLAs heard in the legislature this week.

The old Kugaardjuq School was completely destroyed in a March 2017 fire.

As the Kitikmeot community’s only school, its roughly 300 students and 45 staff have since relocated to temporary portables and various locations until the new facility is built.

But the new school, estimated to cost about $40 million, won’t have a library, Kugaaruk’s MLA Emiliano Qirngnuq recently learned.

“We think that there should be a library because we learn while we read. Are there plans to add a library?” Qirngnuq asked Education Minister David Joanasie during a committee of the whole meeting, looking at departmental budget requests, March 8.

Joanasie said the design of the new school was planned in collaboration with Kugaaruk’s district education authority. But as part of that planning, the department found that most reading material is now computerized and accessible digitally.

“We can put a whole library into one computer,” Joanasie said.

On March 16, six days after the first version of this story was published online, a civil servant from the Department of Education contacted Nunatsiaq News to clarify the issue, saying the building will use a “resource centre” model that will include printed books.

“We would like the point clarified that the facility will have all of the necessary resources including both electronic and hard copy texts,” the spokesperson said.

“The point isn’t that there will be no library, but that the design of the building will incorporate a more flexible ‘resource centre’ model that will incorporate a book room as well as mobile computer labs,” the spokesperson said.

Qirngnuq said he’s grateful for the new facility, but noted that some Inuit are not computer literate.

Otherwise, the new school has been designed to accommodate a larger population of about 450 students. The new facility will have 21 classrooms, including a trades room, a science room and multi-purpose classrooms.

The building will also feature administrative offices, a resource centre, a gymnasium, and a daycare centre, MLAs heard.

The school’s planning and construction budget for the year—$21.9 million—makes up more than half of the proposed $40.5 million capital estimates budget for the Department of Education in 2018-19.

Another $9.5 million will go to the completion of the new high school in Cape Dorset, which is in its third and final year of construction. Peter Pitseolak school was also destroyed in a 2015 fire.

The new Cape Dorset school should be completed by August 2018.

In both Kugaaruk and Cape Dorset’s school fires, local youth were charged with arson in relation to the fires.

Adam Arreak Lightstone, MLA for Iqaluit-Manirajak, told the committee of the whole that he supported the Department of Education’s efforts to implement security measures at Nunavut’s schools, such as CCTV cameras.

“[We] encourage the minister to work with his officials in considering further options for combating the ongoing threat of vandalism and damage to school facilities and school playgrounds,” he told Joanasie March 8.

This version of the story contains a clarification supplied by a spokesperson from the Nunavut Department of Education.

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(12) Comments:

#1. Posted by common sense on March 10, 2018

Great idea to build a school without a library.
Arctic Bay did not need a library either.
The students these days should rely on their imaginations
so they will be ready to face the imaginary jobs and future they will have.
Who needs those pesky books anyway.
Just as well to burn all books. Wait didn’t I see that phrase somewhere before?
Good luck in a future with no books.

#2. Posted by Colin on March 10, 2018

Illegal border crossers get new heated trailers in Montreal for free as well as free money, free food, free clothes, free health care, free education.

Why can’t Canada find the money to build a school THIS YEAR in this community? And one with a library as well as a fully equipped gym?

Out of sight, out of mind for the PM who said he was going to close the gap.

#3. Posted by Northern Inuit on March 10, 2018

Who needs to read gooder anywayz.

We awl noes dat speel cheques on da cumputerz eh.

#4. Posted by Christopher Crooks on March 10, 2018

Of all the asinine things I have heard of in education this one !@#&*%$ takes the cake. Are we going to have an laptop for every student that can get internet assess to read all these wonderful ebooks? After all there is so much money in education. The internet service in Nunavut is worse than any 3rd world country I have been too and I have been to several. Does the DEA have a clue how ebooks work?????? Has the DEA checked out the research on how kids learn to read from actual hard copy books versus books on a computer? And believe it or not Nunavut has a plan to increase literacy…. what without libraries? For sure I will not be curling up with my grandchild with a computer to read, it will be a colourful, large print, beautifully illustrated book that they can turn the pages.
Ignorance truly is bliss!

#5. Posted by Think for a minute on March 11, 2018

Many Northernsers of every race get free money, check, free warm housing, check, free education, check, free health care , check. Two schools burned to the ground within a few years valued at over 70 million dollars, cheque. It takes time to design, supply, ship and erect a school. Admittedly it takes a lot less time to burn it to the ground, cheque again. Whiners always relate to a third world country, your not living in a tent being bombed daily, no water, starving to death. Because you have slow internet you call yourself third world. Pretty dramatic. There are parts of BC that have no power, no phone and internet well perhaps in a couple of hundred years. They do not call themselves third world, they know better and are thankfull for what they do have in this country.

#6. Posted by What????????? on March 11, 2018

I cannot believe the DM’s statements about books. I hope that that someone in his office will provide him with some studies about the higher achievement rates in literacy in schools with operational libraries.  I thought that the department valued literacy.  How will the computer systems be maintained in a smaller community?  Talk to teachers in schools in small communities and the lack of internet access.  Who is advising this DM?

#7. Posted by Minister of Cell Phones on March 12, 2018

Is Joanasie that foolish? I’m now worried that a minister in charge of 4 big portfolios would make a remark like that. Even if you wanted to cut corners in a school, at least come up with a better cover up answer than “UHHHHH YOU CAN PUT YOUR WHOLE LIBRARY IN YOUR PHONE”. Of course, i forgot how all the kids in Kugaaruk have phones with great data plans. I’m sure they’ll be reading Cat in the Hat in the janitors closet on their beautiful Samsung Galaxy 8s.

He’s also the Culture and Heritage minister, responsible for public libraries. Sadly, I don’t expect them to get much funding with Minister Cellphone in charge. Their buildings are falling apart.

Mr. Quassa: if you’re considering a cabinet shuffle any time soon, please consider moving Joanasie from these portfolios and move him to the Cell Phone department. Under him we’ll be able to put libraries in phones and put devices in the hands of every child in Kugaaruk.


#8. Posted by Holy Heck! on March 12, 2018

“Some Inuit are not computer literate.” Tell me which Inuit that will be attending this school in the future will not be computer literate. But that said, to build a school without a library is just plain dumb! Where do these people come from!?

#9. Posted by illiterate on March 12, 2018

I had high hopes for Joanasie but this was a bonehead comment. Maybe Nunavummiut would value school libraries more if we actually hired qualified people to run them.

@1: are you seriously saying Arctic Bay is better off without a library? Sounds more like personality conflicts rather than looking for what’s best in the community. If a library can help only one troubled youth, then it’s worth it.

#10. Posted by Hmmmmm on March 12, 2018

I do not believe the minister is sAying there will be no books, only that the space will not be provided for a school library. Which makes sense, as there is no allocated library workers, so who would look after it? Teachers are stretched to the max, there are no extra positions heading there, so it is not a crazy idea, it is pragmatic. Books are a wondeful addition to classrooms, but they can be housed in classrooms too. I know of a school in the kitikmeot who does not have any control or participation in the community library that resides in the building. Teachers dont have keys for it, or input in the collection. We might as well not have one. But our classrooms are full of books to make up for it. I wish the world was different, but the libraries of my youth are gone.

#11. Posted by Richard Beaudry on March 14, 2018

Not building a school library in Kugaasdjug is indicative that the needs of the Nunavut government take precedent over the value of teaching literacy skills to students in the territory. Teacher librarians collaborate with classroom teachers to teach specific literacy skills to students so that they can be lifelong learners once they finish school. These literacy skills include creative presentation skills, critical literacy skills, ethics of information use, information literacy, technological competencies and transition literacy to prepare them to move on to post secondary or the workforce. To accomplish this, students must be taught to access other tools than simply a computer search. It takes a school library, digital and print reference, fiction and non-fiction resources and collaboration between the classroom teacher and a qualified teacher librarian to teach the literacy skills needed for the students in Kugaardjug to succeed.

#12. Posted by Whatever on March 15, 2018

Does it really matter, library or not ?
Someone will probably set the new one on fire, and all the wild eyed,
highly paid, advisors and experts, will be jumping around blaming the
residential school!

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