École LaVérendrye celebrates sod turning for long-awaited gym

It's been a nearly 20-year wait but staff and students at Winnipeg's École LaVérendrye are finally getting their new gymnasium.
RAW: Students at Winnipeg's Ecole LaVerendrye school perform 'Together We Are One' during the sod turning for their new gymnasium 1:05

It's been a nearly 20-year wait but staff and students at Winnipeg's École LaVérendrye are finally getting their new gymnasium.

"This is an exciting day for our school community," said principal Claudette Warnke. "École LaVérendrye is a wonderful school and we're looking forward to having more space to meet our growing student body."
Ian Bastin from the parent community council, trustee Chris Broughton, city Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, MLA Jennifer Howard and Ecole LaVerendrye principal Claudette Warnke pose during the official sod turning ceremony for the school's new gym. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Preparation work at the site has been going on since classes at the school ended in June. A playground structure and swing set were removed, a hill was levelled and pilings were pounded into the ground.

Now construction on the new 9,268-square-foot facility begins in earnest with a completion date set for summer 2016.

The building will include a 4,310-square-foot gym, a 1,026-square-foot classroom, a kitchenette, change rooms, washrooms, a mechanical/service room, an elevator and an above-ground walkway link to the school.
The pilings for the new gym at Ecole LaVerendrye were pounded in during the summer and now construction begins on the new 9,268-square-foot facility. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Staff at the 106-year-old school on Lilac Street, in the Fort Rouge neighbourhood, have been promised a new gym for nearly two decades.

The existing one is so small that concerts are held in shifts and parents line the walls because there is not enough room for chairs. The ceiling is also too low to mount regular basketball nets, so students use the portable stand-alone type made for driveways.


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