It was the announcement Green Valley School had been anticipating for more than a decade: a brand new gymnasium is coming their way.

The Manitoba Government last week detailed plans to spend 1.6 billion dollars on building and upgrading schools across the province. While dozens of projects were outlined in their five-year strategy, Green Valley Principal Ang Burtnack-Schinkel says a very specific one caught her eye. The Grunthal school would be getting a gym addition and renovation valued at as much as 10 million dollars.

“The addition of a new gym is absolutely terrific all around,” says the excited principal who notes a funding request for this specific initiative was first put before the province over ten years. She says she has watched many government funding announcements come and go without getting the necessary financial support. To finally get recognized, she says, is a great feeling.

“Every year I think what about us? What about a gymnasium? What about some renovations for Green Valley School? This is very much needed."

 Burtnack-Schinkel believes a larger gym will offer two major benefits to the school.

“First, our students will have the opportunity to enhance their physical literacy in a bigger and better environment that will keep them motivated,” she notes.“And second, our athletic team will finally have a home gym to play out of.”

This second point cannot be overstressed. According to Burtnack-Schinkel, Green Valley’s gym has always been smaller than regulation size which has prevented them from hosting sporting events at any official capacity. Instead, Grunthal's high school and junior high tournaments have been held at South Oaks, the nearby elementary school. 

“It is going to be so much sweeter for our athletic team to have a home-court advantage," she remarks. "Going to South Oaks still sort of felt like they were travelling to games. The pride and the spirit that this will bring to GVS athletics is big stuff for a small community.”

Though small, the current gym does feature a small stage for performing arts. Once the new gym is built and becomes usable, Burtnack-Schinkel’s dream is that the entire old gym could be enhanced into a facility even more conducive to band concerts and theatrical productions.

No precise timeline has been given for the build, but it is expected within the next five years. To Burtnack-Schinkel, her phys. ed. department, and their entire student body, the upgrade could not come soon enough.