OROMOCTO (GNB) – The inauguration of the new École Arc-en-ciel in Oromocto took place virtually today. The kindergarten to Grade 8 school opened last September.

The official opening ceremony that was scheduled for the start of the school year had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am pleased to see that this project meets the needs of the community and provides students and teachers with an environment that helps them achieve learning outcomes,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “In addition to supporting long-term community growth, this investment in a new school fills current gaps and will promote academic success.”

The new school replaces an older building, which needed major renovations due to a growing number of students. It can accommodate up to 450 students and has 22 classrooms, a science laboratory, a gymnasium, a library, a cafeteria, an art room, a music room and two multi-use open spaces. The school also includes a daycare centre, which was added to the building with funds allocated to the community by the federal government.

“I am proud to see École Arc-en-ciel welcome its first group of students,” said Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe MP Ginette Petitpas Taylor. “To educate the young people who will ensure the vitality of francophone communities, it is essential for me and our government to offer them learning spaces where French is used to think, communicate, learn and shape identity. The funding we provided for the construction of community space dedicated to childcare in French, attached to the school, will allow children to get ready for the French-language education system, and let them arrive confident in a school environment that helps promote the development of French.”

The project had been identified as a priority since 2015, through the department's capital planning and assessment process.

“This long-awaited new construction, which replaces the old Arc-en-ciel school, is more functional and conducive to student learning,” said Paul Demers, chair of the Francophone Sud District Education Council. “I salute the Government of New Brunswick, which has listened to parents and the francophone community of Oromocto. This investment will contribute to preserving the use of French and to the vitality of the francophone community in this region.”

The construction of this new school represents an investment of $25 million and is part of the provincial government’s key priority of creating a world-class public education system in New Brunswick.