As part of work underway to address aging schools in Whitehorse, École Whitehorse Elementary School has been identified to be replaced with a new, modern facility that will meet the needs of the community for years to come. The new school design will focus on providing flexible, multi-use spaces that emphasize collaborative, experiential learning.
École Whitehorse Elementary School was originally built in 1950 and is currently identified as the top priority for replacement based on the age and condition of the facility and its inability to meet current and future programming and community needs, including access to spaces for innovative, inclusive and experiential learning. The school will be rebuilt on the Takhini Educational Land Reserve. This central location will be ideal to accommodate French Immersion students from around the city and has a number of other advantages, including better access to green space.
In tandem with this work, the Government of Yukon will be working closely with the Chiefs Committee on Education and the Yukon First Nation School Board to begin conversations about the future of Takhini Elementary School and the vision of the newly established First Nations School Board.
Engagement with the broader Whitehorse community and partners is planned for this fall to determine a long-term plan for replacing and renovating other aging Whitehorse schools.
As Whitehorse continues to grow, we must ensure our schools are able to serve the needs of our students, families and educators. It is of the utmost importance that students are learning in safe, healthy and engaging environments. Through our long-term capital plans we hope to provide more access to inclusive and innovative learning spaces that can better incorporate experiential learning and empower our students on their learning journeys. We are excited to be moving forward with a much-needed replacement for École Whitehorse Elementary School, and to begin work with the Chief’s Committee on Education and the Yukon First Nation School Board to plan for the future.
Minister of Education Jeanie McLean
We recognize that a number of Yukon schools are getting on in years and we continue to prioritize long-term planning to meet the needs of our growing education system. The replacement of École Whitehorse Elementary School is needed – at 72 years old, it’s the oldest school building in Whitehorse. A new building, in addition to providing a welcoming, modern learning environment for students, will have significantly better energy performance and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Minister of Highways and Public Works Nils Clarke
For too long, public school students in the Yukon have been under the colonial system, depriving all Yukon students of the powerful educational pedagogies that Yukon First Nation culture has to offer. It is essential that a new First Nations school, with the infrastructure to reflect the distinct needs of the First Nation School Board, be built in the Whitehorse area to serve the students of the Yukon so they can thrive under two worldviews and flourish in a student-centred model of education. We strive for this work to honour our Elders’ vision, as laid out in Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow and the self-government agreements that followed.
Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Chief and Chair of Chiefs Committee on Education Dana Tizya-Tramm
There is a pressing need for a new First Nations School to be built in Whitehorse – to meet the needs of our Indigenous students – but also to promote reconciliation by offering a robust educational program offered through a Yukon First Nations pedagogy. As a youth signatory on Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow, and now as a member of the Interim Governance Committee of the First Nation School Board, I know that this school is a top priority to advance.
Kluane First Nation Elder and Member of the Interim Governance Committee of the First Nation School Board Dr. Alyce Johnson
In 2021, École Whitehorse Elementary School emitted 345 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The new building will be designed with renewable energy considerations in mind and will help the government meet commitments in Our Clean Future.
The Takhini Educational Land Reserve is one of the largest in Whitehorse and has enough room for two schools. Future construction will not impact the programming for existing students at Takhini Elementary School.
École Émilie-Tremblay was the last elementary school built in Whitehorse and opened in 1996.
A new school is currently being built in Whistle Bend and is expected to be completed during the 2023-24 school year. Planning for a new school in Burwash Landing is well underway. Robert Service School expansions are also in the works.