Though IDES has its doors closed, staff continue to assist students and their families from home. Soranne Floarea/The Free Press

Province splashes cash on increased school capacity for Fernie

The BC government announced it was spending $11.4 million on new classrooms at ÉIDES and a new school site

The provincial government has announced it’s funding an 80-seat addition to Isabella Dicken Elementary school (ÉIDES) and a school site purchase in Fernie.

In a release on Wednesday, the BC government announced it was forking out $11.4 million for the development, with the Southeast Kootenay School District board chipping in an additional $500,000.

The new classrooms will be part of a new single-story addition that will be ready for students by Sept. 2022, with construction set to begin in fall 2021.

Frank Lento, who is the chair of the Southeast Kootenay Board of Education said that the board was grateful the province recognized the critical education needs of Fernie, and the necessity to expand the schools there.

“We look forward to these new school spaces that will meet a student-centred approach to support their multiple intelligences and physical, social and emotional stages of development,” he said.

The new additional will include four new kindergarten classrooms, a media technology room, a special education room and a multipurpose room.

Chair of the parental advisory committee at ÉIDES, Nicole Heckendorf said that announcement was “exciting news for all the families in Fernie.

“As a PAC, we have been in awe of the abilities of our ÉIDES staff as they’ve adapted to the challenges they’ve faced with respect to the physical limitations of the school. Their leadership, creativity and positive energy is what continues to make ÉIDES such a vibrant and dynamic school. This expansion, along with the purchase of land for a future school, is a much-needed and welcomed investment in education. We applaud everyone who played a role in making this happen and cannot wait to watch it unfold.”

The district has also purchased land between Cokato Rd and Whitetail Dr on Montane Parkway in south Fernie for a future school site.

READ MORE: Fernie (hopefully) dives into composting



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