A new elementary school for Niverville has been added to the Hanover School Division's 5-year capital plan.
Superintendent Randy Dueck says they submit a yearly plan to the Province's Public Schools Finance Board adding when looking at yearly growth projections, it was becoming apparent that the long high school and elementary school were not going to be enough in the coming years. Dueck explains their number one request to the province is a new 400 seat Grade 9 to 12 school and the third request is a new 650 seat K to Grade 4 school, both in Niverville.
"The reason we're asking for that, even though we're, right now, in the process of building a five classroom addition at Niverville Elementary School is, our growth projections," notes Dueck. "So it just simply has to be addressed in one way or another and we're expressing that need loud and clear."
Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck says he was pleased with the announcement as he can see the need for divisional growth in the community. Dyck notes the 2011 census had Niverville's population just shy of 3,500 people and the estimated current population is 5,000 which is a growth of 1,500 people. He adds, with an average of 3 people per dwelling, and one of those being a child, there are 500 new children in the last five years from newcomers alone.
"The numbers that have been shared with us is that in our high school right now we have roughly 60 to 70 students per grade. In our middle school level we have somewhere [between] 80 to 90 students per grade," notes Dyck, mirroring Dueck's comments on growth projections. "Now in our early years we have about 100 students per grade; and when we talk to the day cares and the health nurses we have anywhere from 150 to 200 children per age in those earlier years. So we have this little people tsunami that's upon us."
Dueck says the best case scenario in Niverville would see three schools; a new high school, a new elementary school and the current high school converted into a middle school. Dyck adds, he's grateful to the Hanover School Division for presenting the needs of the division to the province and is looking forward to the day one or both projects are announced by the province.
Meanwhile, Dueck adds other projects on the capital plan include a new high school gym at Green Valley School, wide-range of science labs in various schools, a new 480 seat K to 4 school in west Steinbach and addressing the old school building in Bothwell.
"The good news to that is a couple months ago the province identified science labs as a priority and a bunch of these science labs were already approved for us."
Hanover Councillor Pete Hiebert, who represents the Bothwell area, says the Bothwell school building is outdated and old, adding there is land available to build a new school and that would be a great thing for the community.