Government of Manitoba
In 2006-07, the Province of Manitoba and the Government of Canada signed an agreement, under the Official Languages Support Program, to start building a school and community centre in St. Laurent, Manitoba. The facility would provide tangible support for French-language education in the Francophone and Métis community. The school so long awaited by this vibrant community was finally to become a reality.
The official opening ceremonies for the new school were held on October 7, 2010. The Manitoba Minister of Education, Nancy Allan, attended the ceremonies and took the opportunity to highlight both the richness of the Métis and Francophone cultures and the solidarity among the members of this model rural Manitoba community.
The $9.3 million school construction project underscores the importance of federal-provincial cooperation in supporting and developing the country's official language minorities. The federal government invested $2.3 million for the creation of additional spaces to promote cultural involvement and development in the community, while the province contributed $7 million for the construction of school spaces.
École communautaire Aurèle-Lemoine is a new architectural jewel for the Prairies. It is the first public school in Manitoba to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building standards, having achieved Silver Certification. These standards include energy efficiency, water consumption, indoor air quality and the use of local materials. The environmental and safety features at the school exceed all applicable standards under the Manitoba school buildings policy, reflecting the importance placed on sustainable development by the Province of Manitoba.
The 2,660-square-metre (28,632-square-foot) facility can accommodate 250 students from kindergarten to Grade 12. Basic features include classrooms, a kindergarten, a library, and science and computer labs. The building also offers additional facilities of exceptional quality, creating a synergy that will benefit recruitment, retention and community involvement. In fact, the child care centre, distance education room, and gymnasium—which also serves as a community centre—are open to the community. These facilities offer many opportunities for joint activities between the school and community sectors and for greater cooperation among members of the community.
There is no doubt that the child care centre will serve as a powerful tool drawing more young families to the new school and emphasizing the growing importance of the early childhood sector in minority education in Canada. In addition, the distance education room will give students access to a greater number and variety of courses.
The Franco-Manitoban School Division sincerely hopes that this new school will contribute to the recruitment and retention of children from the Francophone and Métis community of St. Laurent, and to the community's continued development.