MONCTON (GNB) – A sod-turning ceremony was held today to mark the official start of construction on a $22.7-million francophone school in Moncton.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams, Moncton Crescent MLA John Betts and local and school district officials took part.

"It is a great day for Moncton and its francophone community," said Williams. "The construction of this school will meet a growing need. This school will be equipped with all of the latest technology, and it will be healthy, safe and comfortable. It will provide an excellent learning environment for students. The teaching staff and administration will find the building well-suited to their current and future needs, which will certainly facilitate their work."

The K-8 school will be located at 701 Ryan Rd. in Moncton and will open in the fall of 2013.

Foulem Construction ltée of Caraquet won the construction contract following a tendering process. The two-storey building, covering 11,046 square metres (118,898 square feet), will be built on 10.3 hectares (25.4 acres). The school will have two gymnasiums, 27 classrooms, a library and cafeteria and rooms for art, music, science and technology. A sports field and a playground are also planned.

Williams noted that investment in the education system helps New Brunswickers take care of their families and improves quality of life.

The school will be built in accordance with the provincial government's Green Building Policy.