The provincial government, Anglophone West School District, and the Rural Community of Hanwell unveiled images depicting the design of a new community school on Jan. 27. Construction is expected to begin this spring with completion of the new building expected in 2022.
"I am pleased to see the ongoing development of this project to respond to the needs of the community, as well as of the greater Fredericton area," said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. "This school will allow students to learn in their own community."
Due to increased enrolment, schools in the Fredericton region use modular classrooms for up to 19 per cent of all classes. Because there is currently no school in Hanwell, about 450 students from the community are bused to and from schools in Fredericton. The commute takes between 30 and 60 minutes per trip.
The new kindergarten to Grade 8 school will accommodate 650 students and will be built next to the Hanwell Community Centre. It will feature 36 classrooms, an early childhood room, an outdoor learning area, two gyms, specialty learning spaces such as music rooms, a performing arts room, art rooms, science rooms, technology labs and resource spaces, and open project work areas for group collaboration.
"This is an important project for the development of our growing community," said Hanwell Mayor Susan Cassidy. "The new school will be an asset for the future of Hanwell."
Cassidy said "a school is a building block of a community" and Hanwell is proud to see the project come to fruition. Discussion about a new school first began in 2007. She noted the new facility will be near the community centre as well as parks and trails in the area.
"It has been such a long time coming," Cassidy said. "The possibilities are endless for what this will mean to our community and we are behind it 110 per cent."
Kimberley Douglass, chair of the ASD-W District Education Council, said the involvement and commitment of the community to make a new school a priority helped make all the difference in having the project move forward. She predicted the community will change and grow once the new building is available for students and their families.
Superintendent David McTimoney also congratulated the rural community. He said the district looks forward to taking the project to the next level, and once completed, it will bring the total number of schools in the district to 70.