HANWELL (GNB) – A new school for 650 students in kindergarten through Grade 8 will be built in Hanwell next to the new Hanwell Community Centre.

“We heard from parents, students, educators and the district education council who were concerned about growing enrolment and overcrowding in Fredericton-area schools,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “The new K-8 school in Hanwell will help address those concerns and keep students living in Hanwell closer to home.”

About 450 students in Hanwell are currently bused to and from schools in Fredericton, which takes between 30 and 60 minutes per trip, because there is no school in their community. The new facility is also expected to alleviate overcrowding in schools on Fredericton’s south side, where enrolment is rising and modular classrooms make up 16 per cent of all classrooms.

The school will feature 36 classrooms, an early childhood room; an outdoor learning area; two gyms; specialty learning spaces such as music rooms, a performing arts room, art rooms, science rooms, technology labs and resource spaces; and open project work areas for group collaboration.

The design will incorporate modern learning concepts, with the goal of creating an environment that engages learners of all ages and personalities, and promotes well-being among students.

A number of factors are taken into consideration when choosing a site for a new school, including community amenities, community school use, catchment area, accessibility of the site, available utilities, transportation strategies, natural site conditions and site size.

“The community has been actively lobbying for several years to have the opportunity to educate our children closer to home,” said Hanwell Mayor Susan Cassidy. “With today’s announcement of the school’s location, that will become a reality.”

An investment of $3 million was approved in the 2019-20 capital budget for the site selection phase, as well as for planning and design.

The next phase of the project, architectural planning, will proceed now that a location has been chosen.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2020. The school is expected to open in January 2022.