The Dauphin River First Nation School has opened its doors to 22 students as part of the Operation Return Home initiative, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced today.
“The opening of Dauphin River First Nation School moves us closer towards reconciliation with the communities impacted by the damaging floods of 2011,” said Schuler. “Our government worked with this First Nation and other partners to rebuild major infrastructure to ensure children can safely return to school.”
Due to major flooding in 2011, the school facilities were damaged and had to be demolished. Five temporary classrooms were installed in the community in 2012. All of the housing in the community was affected.
“A permanent school is an important step in returning evacuees back to Dauphin River First Nation,” said Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke. “Our government worked closely with Chief John Stagg and the community to make this project happen and it is exciting to see children in the community will once again have access to an appropriate facility to receive their education.”
The Manitoba government contributed $5.5 million to the 980-square-metre kindergarten to Grade 8 school, jointly funded with the Government of Canada. With a capacity for 63 students, the school includes four multi-age classrooms, a lunch room, gym and multi-purpose room, kitchen, special education and resource room, and administration offices. A landscaped playground with sports fields and a bus area complete the rebuild. The school and community are connected to high-speed, fibre-optic telecommunications line. A principal, teacher and educational assistant have been hired.
In 2011, the Manitoba government built temporary dikes along the Dauphin River and helped the community construct perimeter drainage works to reduce runoff.
Minister Schuler noted that future flood damage will be mitigated by the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels project. Construction is slated to start in 2019. The channels will allow the province to better regulate water levels on these lakes, allowing for increased protection from flooding for the First Nations and communities along Lake Manitoba, Lake St. Martin, and the Dauphin River.
In 2017, the Dauphin River First Nation and the Frontier School Division board of trustees signed an education agreement for the school division to provide educational services to First Nation students. At that time, 22 students were attending school in five temporary modular classrooms.
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