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‘Desperately needed’: New school in Harbour Landing will address student overcrowding

Board chair for Regina Public Schools, Katherine Gagne, says funding for a new school in Harbour Landing was 'so desperately wanted.'.
Board chair for Regina Public Schools, Katherine Gagne, says funding for a new school in Harbour Landing was 'so desperately wanted.'. Justin Bukoski / Global News

Plans are underway to develop a second joint-use school in Harbour Landing after the neighbourhood’s first school, built just three years ago, has exceeded its capacity.

The joint-use school will provide space for 400 Regina Public School students and 250 Regina Catholic students.

Read more: Due to overcapacity Harbour Landing School moving its French immersion program

The project is in its infancy, with the planning phase expected to take place within the next eight to 12 months, said Minister of Education Gord Wyant. Both school divisions will work with the Ministry of Education and the City of Regina to put forth a plan and acquire land for the new school.

Construction is expected to begin in a year, Wyant said.

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The education minister says the school will be built in the area of Harbour Landing “to alleviate the challenges and pressures in the existing school.”

This year the school’s French immersion students moved to Dr. A.E. Perry School because there wasn’t enough space in Harbour Landing, despite the school being one of the province’s newest builds.

The school was built in 2017 and was designed to accommodate 650 students. In the 2019-20 school year, 927 students attended the school, according to a report from Regina Public Schools.

Read more: Overcrowding issue facing Regina Public Schools

Regina Public Schools says the expansion of the French Immersion program and residential development in the area have added pressure to the school.

“Consistently, over the past number of years, Regina Public Schools is experiencing enrolment growth that is equivalent to one small to medium-sized school every year,” said the school division’s board chair Katherine Gagne.

“Nowhere have we seen this growth as we’ve seen in the Harbour Landing community.”

On Thursday, dignitaries joined representatives from both school divisions to announce the planning stage.

“Because of the growth of the area, we are here anticipating the construction of two new schools, which is so desperately needed to meet the significant growth of this area and the needs of our students,” said deputy chair of Regina Catholic Schools Vicky Bonnell.

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Read more: Regina elementary school more costly to renovate than rebuild

The school divisions have received $2 million from the Ministry of Education to use on planning the project, money that was “so desperately wanted,” said Gagne.

The total budget of the project is projected to be $40 million, according to the government of Saskatchewan.

Click to play video '‘We have nowhere left to go’: Sask. school divisions feeling fiscal pressure' ‘We have nowhere left to go’: Sask. school divisions feeling fiscal pressure
‘We have nowhere left to go’: Sask. school divisions feeling fiscal pressure