Temporary classrooms await students in Kugluktuk after school fire

Students shuttled to rec centre and elementary school

The Kugluktuk High School, which suffered damage from a fire on Sept. 3, remains shut to students and staff. Next week, students will be split between two sites in the western Nunavut community of about 1,500.(File photo)

By Jane George

Students at Kugluktuk High School will return to classes on Monday, Sept. 9, but not to their school, which was damaged in a Sept. 3 fire that caused classes to be suspended for the rest to the week.

Senior high students in Grades 10 to 12 will use the hamlet’s recreation centre for all classes, the Education Department told Nunatsiaq News on Friday, Sept. 6.

“The hamlet is willing to accommodate the use of the recreation centre for the senior high students for as long as it is needed, and will be closed to the public while it is being used for the high school,” said a statement from the department.

Three classrooms and the library will be used at the Jimmy Hikok Ilihakvik elementary school for the junior high students from Kugluktuk High School, who are in Grades 6 to 9.

A fire drill will be run on the second day for the school and all temporary learning places, the Education Department said.

“A safety plan is in place for the temporary classrooms and a fire drill will occur within the first two days in the new learning spaces,” said Tracey MacMillan, Nunavut’s assistant deputy minister of education. “This will ensure students are clear about the muster points and familiar with emergency drill procedures in a new environment.”

Meanwhile, the power is back on in the damaged school, but community sources say concerns about air quality remain.

The Department of Community and Government Services said the extent of the damage to Kugluktuk High School was limited to the area between the outer wall and foundation, and the crawl space underneath the building.

The cost of repairs for the fire damage is not yet known, CGS said, but it is estimated to be less than $100,000.

That amount will have to come out of the Government of Nunavut’s pockets because the deductible for Nunavut schools was raised to $20 million after several fires in the territory’s schools.

After a fire destroyed Killinik school in Cambridge Bay in 1997 and a school in Pangnirtung in 1998, plus another fire in 2003 that destroyed the first Joamie School building in Iqaluit, Nunavut’s deductible for insurance claims rose to $10 million.

Then, following the September 2015 fire at Peter Pitseolak School in Cape Dorset and the March 2017 fire that destroyed Kugaardjuq School in Kugaaruk, Nunavut’s deductible now stands at $20 million.

Police continue to investigate the recent school fire in Kugluktuk, which community sources say was set by children.

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Paul Murphy on

    Interesting that there are no comments on this event.

    How did children get matches/lighter?

    Where did children get fuel to start the fire

    Where were the parents? Did they not explain to the children the dangers of playing with fire?

    Of course many in Kugluktuk will find an excuse to blame the RCMP.

    I believe parents of these children and others who commit these acts of vandalism should and must be held financially responsible. Time to teach parents how to be parents.

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