REGINA — Construction of a new Sacred Heart Community School began Oct. 2 with an official sod turning attended by Finance Minister Kevin Doherty, Deputy Mayor Wade Murray, Regina Elphinstone -Centre MLA Warren McCall, Elder Mike Pinay, school board members, senior school board administrators and children of Sacred Heart Community School. The sod turning took place on the North West corner of school property. It is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 2017. The government is contributing $27 million to the project.
The school was built in 1928. It is an iconic structure in North Central Regina and acts not only as a community school but has become something of a community centre as well. It hosts several after-school programs and is noted for its emphasis on reading in all grade levels.
It had been on the Regina Catholic School Division’s wish list for a new school but the government moved it up the list when the gymnasium began falling apart: the score board and several ceiling lights detached from the wall and ceiling; the gym became dangerous and was closed in 2014. Students now use the former Sacred Heart Church, which the school board purchased and revamped into a temporary gym.
Doherty, speaking on behalf of Education Minister Don Morgan, said the government was pleased to support construction of a new state-of-the-art school. “Our government recognized the need to provide students and staff at sacred Heart with an innovative and modern Catholic school that will respect the rich history of the current building,” said Doherty in a prepared release.
The new school will accommodate up to 700 students from pre-kindergarten to Grade 8 and will include a dedicated community space as well room for a 51-space child care centre. Some of the unique brick work, tyndall stone and columns of the old school will be incorporated into the new one and the iconic Sacred Heart statue that now stands at the entrance will be featured in the new school.
School board chair Rob Bresciani said the board was pleased that construction is underway and recognized its need for a growing student enrolment. “We are experiencing unprecedented growth and we need this school to accommodate our students.”
Deputy Mayor Wade Murray brought greetings on behalf of the city of Regina and said he was pleased to see construction begin on this much-needed school.
Rev. John Weckend who regularly visits the school, said a prayer and blessed the area with holy water. Elder Mike Pinay noted the school is on Treaty Four Land and explained when Mother Earth is going to be disturbed it is appropriate to bless that land, which he did silently while holding a handful of earth.
The official party then proceeded with the formal sod turning using the traditional gold-coloured shovels.