Northwestern Ontario First Nation secures $24 million funding for new education complex

Residents in Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, formerly known as the Ojibways of the Pic River, will see a new and innovative school in their community by the summer of 2020.

Construction of the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg Education Complex will start in August

The new education complex will be in the shape of an eagle. The east wing of the building will be for a daycare and an elementary school, the west wing will be the adult education and business center area, while the middle of the complex will be used as a gym, cafeteria and ceremony space. (Pic River Education Complex)

Residents in Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, formerly known as the Ojibways of the Pic River, will see a new and innovative school in their community by the summer of 2020.

Located about 350 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont., next to Pukaskwa National Park, officials from the community are celebrating a funding announcement for the $24 million Biigtigong Nishnaabeg Education Complex.

"We know that education can change the outcomes for many generations to come and the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg Education Complex will be an integral part of that change," Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu said earlier this week at the sod turning ceremony.

The education complex, which was designed by Bret Cardinal — whose father is the acclaimed architect that designed the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa — will be shaped like an eagle, with the east wing dedicated to a daycare and an elementary school, the west wing for an adult education and business centre, and a gym, cafeteria and ceremony space in the middle of the complex.

Construction of the complex will start in August, but a sod turning ceremony was held on Thursday at the new school site.

The community will also require an additional $4 million to complete the construction, which they plan on raising through various fundraising initiatives, government agencies, and private sector partnerships.

"Over the years, we have continually worked hard to be innovative in order to become increasingly independent," Biigtigong Nishnaabeg Chief Duncan Michano said in a written statement.

"The Education Complex is simply the next step in our education footprint for the children, who are the future of our community."