Students and teachers in the Samiajij Miawpukek First Nation reserve, also known as Conne River, have a reason to celebrate with the official opening of a brand new K-12 school.
Town leaders have been working for about a year to build the school and get it open. It has a lot more than just classrooms — the building also houses a dental office and daycare centre.
"It's an incredible building that's not a lot bigger than the old school we came out of. But it's laid out much better, it's under one roof," Chief Misel Joe told the St. John's Morning Show prior to Wednesday's opening ceremony.
"It's an incredible place to be because it's right near the powwow grounds and, of course, adjacent to the powwow grounds there are walking trails."
Around 180 students will attend the new school this year, and Joe says the building will be a huge improvement over the previous school, which had a leaky roof and other problems.
He said two buses will bring students to and from the school instead of having them picked up by parents and other families, so that should ease traffic congestion, which had also been a problem.
Dental office, daycare centre
Joe acknowledged that it is unusual for a school to include a daycare centre and a dental office, but said it made sense.
He said the town's daycare had outgrown its former location in a church basement, so funding was secured to move it to the new school. With regards to the dental clinic, Joe said everyone seems happy with the move.
"Most of our clients in terms of dental was in the school anyway," he said. "So it became a good choice to put a dental office in the school."
Watch the entire opening ceremony for the new Conne River school below: