December 19, 2018 8:06 am

Regina Huda School eyes 2nd major expansion as student population grows

WATCH ABOVE: Soaring demand at a Regina school geared towards Muslim students has prompted the facility's second major expansion. The city has agreed to sell two acres of land to the Huda School.

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Soaring demand has prompted a Regina school geared towards Muslim students to consider a second expansion.

“We thought we’d never outgrow that place and before you know it, we’re bursting at the seams,” said Regina Huda School president Ayman Aboguddah.

On Monday night, city council unanimously agreed to sell the school two acres of land that currently backs onto its playground.

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While construction is likely at least two years away, more classroom space, another prayer area and a gym that could be used by the community are at the top of the wish list.

READ MORE: Regina’s Islamic association to build new mosque on Pump Roadhouse site

A new building on the campus opened up in January 2018, but demand is still booming.

“In approximately the last three years, I believe we’ve added at least 250 students,” principal Starla Nistor said. “We’ve run out of classroom space. We’ve actually had to accommodate one class by splitting it in two so we could meet the needs of the number of students we had.”

The school caters to the Muslim community by teaching Islamic manners, the Qur’an and Arabic in addition to the provincial academic curriculum.

Features like the 44 basins in which students perform wudu — the washing of hands, arms, faces and feet before prayers — provide more convenience for students, who wouldn’t have those facilities at other public schools.

The school opened to 20 students in 1999 but now boasts a population of 600.

“There’s 80 children on a waiting list, and that’s down from where it used to be. When my children first started going there, it was an even longer list,” said Munir Haque, whose three children have attended the school.

READ MORE: Sask. immigration program continues to bring thousand to the province

“But they had a very close relationship with all of their teachers and the opportunity to serve on the student leadership council. At a bigger school, those opportunities might not have been there.”

The school’s founder believes the atmosphere is comforting for newcomers who want to preserve their identity while adapting to Canadian life.

“They worry about their kids,” Aboguddah said. “They don’t want to lose their values and culture but they look forward to being in Canada and enjoying the Canadian life. For them, it feels like they can have the best of both worlds.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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