On November 1st, 2018, history was made in Pictou Landing. Former students of Pictou Landing First Nation School and their children were invited to partake in breaking ground for the new school building. Check out the pictures and announcement. The new school is going to be built on the Pictou Landing ballfield grounds, with construction expected to begin in November 2018.
The new school is expected to be open for classes in September 2019. That's only ten months from now! Mrs Irene Endicott, the school principal, has been working tirelessly over the last few years to plan for a new school that is a state of the art educational space, and also an energy-efficient, eco-friendly building. During the planning phase, she took a trip to visit and learn about Richard J. Lee Elementary School in Texas. That school is the very first net-zero elementary school in the United States, and the design has gained international attention. Irene returned and was able to share ideas and the design from the net-zero school with the Pictou Landing First Nation School community, and Mi’kmaw Kina'matnewey. Some of the key elements to the smart design of Richard Lee Elementary School in Texas include solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal energy units, rainwater collection systems, and daylight-harvesting lighting. Pictou Landing plans on using geothermal energy for the new school, as well as incorporating other green technologies. The Pictou Landing Health Centre also uses geothermal energy, and energy efficient technology has been continuing to grow in popularity.
The first meeting about a new school for Pictou Landing was back in 2015. It has taken time and effort to bring this efficient educational facility to life. Irene Endicott has consulted with the project manager, Terry Donavon, to ensure the building itself, and the surrounding green areas will provide state of the art learning opportunities and healthy, active lifestyles for students and the entire community.
Once the school is built, it will serve approximately 90 students in the 2019-2020 school year, from preschool through grade eight. The design includes a daycare, a community event space, a large gym, an outdoor natural play area, an educational garden, and more. There have been many people involved behind the scenes in the proposing and planning stages of the new school, people collaborating together to ensure the school is as green and as inspiring as it can be for students, staff, and the whole community.
The New Glasgow News published an article about the ground-breaking event. While the entire community is thrilled about the new school, the students are looking forward to their new school. The students were shown the plans for the school by Mr Donavon himself. Check out their video showing the students’ excitement! This second video shows that lots of the students are excited to have a bigger cafeteria and much more! The new school will also be expanded to include students through from primary to grade eight, whereas at present they transfer to Trenton Middle School after grade six.
Pictou Landing First Nation School has been a part of the Green Schools Nova Scotia community since Green Schools NS first started in 2013. This school continues to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability by incorporating green initiatives and efforts in everyday life. From building their own energy efficient air conditioner for a classroom to designing an energy efficient, sustainable new building, this community has shown incredible leadership. We look forward to continuing to work in the new green building and all the green habits it will inspire every day, at home, and at school!
~Pamela Chandler, Engagement Officer