Garden Valley School Division moved a step closer to making a new K-8 school a reality. Standing on the future site of Pine Ridge Elementary School, representatives of stakeholder groups broke ground in an official ceremony held on Friday, March 23, 2018 at 1:30 pm.
Both local and provincial dignitaries were on hand for the official launch of this new construction project. WBS Construction has been awarded the Pine Ridge Elementary School project. Construction activity has already begun at the site, which is located on Roblin Boulevard, just west of 15th St. and south of Highway 14.
The ceremony began with opening words by Superintendent Vern Reimer. This was followed by 'O Canada' sung by a JR Walkof School and Emerado School choir, led by teachers Cecilia Gil and Jacqui Scholz. Laurie Dyck, GVSD Board Chair, welcomed everyone to the special occassion. Describing the future K-8 school as a "thriving educational community" and "the heartbeat of the neighbourhood," Dyck thanked the provincial government for addressing the growth needs of the community.
Attendees were treated to a musical selection performed by the Winkler Elementary School Jazz Choir, under the leadership of teacher Lincoln Wiebe.
Representing the Minister of Education, the Honourable Cameron Friesen, Minister of Finance/MLA Morden Winkler Constituency, brought special greetings on behalf of the Provincial Government. Minister Friesen highlighted Winkler's exceptional growth rate, and affirmed that "government must build schools to reflect this community growth." Reflecting on the number of students who have come through portable classrooms over the years, Minister Friesen thanked the GVSD Trustees for their hard work, and for "casting out the vision of what can be done."
Martin Harder, Mayor of the City of Winkler, brought greetings from the city. Mayor Harder praised Garden Valley School Division for it's visionary leadership, and thanked the leadership for its contribution to the "strong fabric" of our community. Recognizing the key value and worth of our students, Mayor Harder referred to our community's young people as "the fine stitch in holding the fabric of the community together."
The ceremonial groundbreaking moment was carried out by Honourable Cameron Friesen (Minister of Finance, representing Minister of Education), Martin Harder (Mayor), Laurie Dyck (GVSD Board Chair), Todd Monster (GVSD Assistant Superintendent and incoming new Superintendent), Brock Becker, Grade 6 Student at Parkland Elementary School.
Special remarks were also made by Rob Obirek, Architect for MCM Architects, who thanked Vern Reimer and Abe Wiebe (GVSD Capital Projects & Safety Coordinator) for always being available. Derek Thiessen, Project Manager for WBS Construction, thanked GVSD for the confidence the division has shown in their company's ability to take on this important project.
Special comments about the new K-8 school project were also made by Todd Monster, GVSD Assistant Superintendent, who believes the new school will be "a great addition to the family of GVSD schools." Monster affirmed that the new school will eliminate many detached portables (18 or 19), and allow GVSD to "reclaim lost learning spaces."
Brock Becker, a Grade 6 Student at Parkland Elementary School, shared his thoughts about the new school from the student's perspective. Becker, who lives across the street from the construction site, said that he's "very excited to begin the 8th grade here and graduate in 2020." "We are very happy," said Becker, "that the needs of the students are being met."
In his closing comments, Vern Reimer, wished WBS and GVSD good fortune as they carry through on the construction and completion of the Pine Ridge School. Refreshments followed the ceremony at the GVSD Division Office. See below for event photos.