Construction of new Nunavut school brings closure to “difficult chapter”

New Cape Dorset high school set to open in September 2018

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Cape Dorset residents gather near the site of the former Peter Pitseolak high school in July 2016, as part of a ceremony and memorial for the community institution. The new school is now under construction at a different site, and set to open in Sept, 2018. (FILE PHOTO)


Cape Dorset residents gather near the site of the former Peter Pitseolak high school in July 2016, as part of a ceremony and memorial for the community institution. The new school is now under construction at a different site, and set to open in Sept, 2018. (FILE PHOTO)

The construction of Cape Dorset’s new high school is now underway, the Government of Nunavut announced this week.

The work begins almost two years after Peter Pitseolak high school was destroyed in a September 2015 fire, leaving 134 students and staff members without a permanent facility in the Baffin community.

The GN has awarded the construction of the new school to Kudlik Construction Inc., in partnership with Accutech Engineering and Parkin Architects.

The new school building is expected to open in time for the 2018-19 school year, at a cost of $34 million.

Education Minister Paul Quassa said the new school brings closure to “a difficult chapter.”

“This new school symbolizes a fresh start for the community and an opportunity to move forward together, stronger than ever,” Quassa said in an Aug. 15 release.

At the time of the fire, the school had just undergone a $17-million expansion.

But the territorial government only learned later on that the renovated building was under-insured, and couldn’t claim the remaining or total book value of the school.

MLAs raised the issue in the legislative assembly last fall.

Cape Dorset’s new secondary school is meant to accommodate almost double the student population that Peter Pitseolak once did, with 264 students from grades 7 to 12.

The local District Education Authority will consult community members to choose a new name for the building which is being built in a new location in the community, behind the local arena.

As far as the new building’s design, the community has already chosen an aurora borealis colour scheme, while signage recovered from the fire will be installed in the new school to honour the former one.

High school students in Cape Dorset will finish the current school year in temporary classroom space and portables.

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