Students at Beaver Brae Secondary school will soon be able to enjoy a completely-revamped tech wing, drama department, visual arts studio, a new hospitality space, a fully-upgraded communications lab, fitness room renovations and a new cafeteria.

Trustees with the Keewatin-Patricia District School unveiled their new design plans for a number of Beaver Brae facilities at their recent board meeting, with work set to begin in April. Completion of phase one of renovations is expected for March, 2020.

Phase one of renovations includes:

- A new dramatic arts room that includes telescopic seating for up to 150 people, as well as a new performance stage and theatre sound and lighting to accommodate the currently fastest growing program at the school,

- A large visual arts studio with lots of open space and natural light,

- A new welding/manufacturing shop,

- Relocation of Beaver Brae’s popular Bike Shop to improve external access to the program and storage,

- Upgraded Food and Nutrition/Hospitality space with new equipment to accommodate high demand for those programs,

- Fully upgraded state of the art Communications Technology lab including a video broadcasting studio and green room, photo studio for digital photography and a new computer lab layout,

- A new fitness and weight room more than double the size of the current space to support personal fitness among students and staff,

- Upgraded cafeteria with new layout including booths and charging stations

Tenders for the project are being accepted until March 12, and the capital project’s budget is expected to reach $6 million by the end of the first phase of renovations.

The second phase of renovations is expected to include parking lot upgrades, athletic field renovations, and accessibility improvements throughout the school.

“The renovations will improve theatre arts, with telescopic seating and new lighting and sound. Performance arts is our fastest-growing program in the school, and it will bring the community in the school,” said Superintendent of Business Richard Findlay, regarding the drama department’s redesign.

“We’re introducing Indigenous art to the arts department, and we’re hoping to improve engagement with Indigenous students. The Communications program will have a video broadcasting studio. That program is at capacity, and we’re hoping to attract new students with the improved programming. We’re also hoping to introduce female and Indigenous students into the trades with a modernized welding and manufacturing area.”

The board also awarded a $1.1 million contract to replace the roof of Sioux Mountain Public School, and a $7.7 million contract to renovate Ear Falls Public School.

“These three capital projects, including a complete rebuild of Ear Falls Public School and the renewal of the Beaver Brae Secondary School’s Tech Wing, have been identified as major priorities for the Board, and will bring equity of opportunities to the young people of Ear Falls and Kenora,” said Director of Education, Sean Monteith.

Photos courtesy of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board.

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