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Students and parents get a glimpse of the new Whistle Bend School in Whitehorse

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The Yukon government opened the doors of the newly built elementary school in the Whistle Bend district of Whitehorse on Wednesday.

Construction on the school is now complete and classes will begin there in the next school year, which begins in August. It is the first new primary school in the city in more than two decades.

The $42.8 million school will serve preschoolers through 7th graders from the fast-growing Whistle Bend and Takhini North neighborhoods. It can accommodate up to 425 students, and so far about 200 are enrolled for the upcoming school year.

Prime Minister Ranj Pillai was among the dignitaries, teachers and families who came to inspect the facility on Wednesday. He praised the “incredible building”.

“Whistle Bend Elementary School will educate future generations of Yukon doctors, nurses, teachers, leaders, workers, parents, caregivers and, most importantly, community members,” he said.

Inside the newly built Whistle Bend Elementary School in Whitehorse, May 29, 2024.Inside the newly built Whistle Bend Elementary School in Whitehorse, May 29, 2024.

Inside the newly built Whistle Bend Elementary School in Whitehorse, May 29, 2024.

In one of the school's classrooms. (Sarah Xenos/Radio-Canada)

“Today is a day to celebrate this new school, this new community and the new promise of our future.”

Education Minister Jeanie McLean described how she “revelled in the splendour of this new, state-of-the-art school.” She said a smudging ceremony had been held earlier in the building, led by Ta'an Kwäch'än Elder Betsy Jackson.

“We have taken the time to set a positive intention for this new space and to extend our best wishes to all the students who will have the opportunity to learn here,” McLean said.

She also pointed out two rooms in the facility designed to foster connections among indigenous peoples: one for language programs and another for meetings between elders, students and staff.

Work on the school's sports field and playgrounds will be completed this summer.

An official name for the school is also still pending. The government says the school board will work with families, staff and students to find a name “that reflects the values ​​of the school community.”