At an evening vote on March 15, Westbank First Nation Members voted to approve the cost of a school expansion project. The project will see expansions and renovations made to Sensisyusten House of Learning, an independent elementary school located in Westbank First Nation’s community core.
Additions and upgrades will include four new classrooms; a learning assistance room; expanded administration and storage areas; replaced and upgraded fire protection sprinkler system, mechanical system, lighting, roofing, insulation, and building exterior; outdoor classroom spaces; additional washrooms; and an enhanced entry and reception area.
Since 1994, when Sensisyusten first opened its doors, it has created a strong foundation for the Westbank First Nation community through quality education, balanced cultural programing, and an open and caring environment. Improvements will enhance safety, student learning, teaching capacity, and language and cultural programming.
The cost of the project will total $8,866,046, with the majority funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. To complete the project and receive the funding, Westbank First Nation must commit to contributing up to $1,459,207 of its own funds, a cost approved by the Westbank First Nation Membership.
“Sensisyusten students are so happy about the outcome,” says Chief Roxanne Lindley. “I love seeing the spirit of our future leaders.”
Construction is set to begin later this year and finish in the winter of 2019. Upgrades to the school will tie in nicely with other recent investments in WFN’s community core, including the construction of a $5.5 million Youth Centre, which opened in 2017, and the upcoming 2018 construction of a $700,000 public skateboard park and sports court.