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Funding to help local First Nation schools expand

Westbank First Nation and Adams Lake Indian Band have been chosen as recipients of a new government grant designed to improve academics on reserves.
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February 24, 2016 - 8:00 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Two local First Nations have been given funding support for innovative projects that will result in new school facilities in West Kelowna and Chase.

The Westbank First Nation and the Adams Lake Indian Band are two of nine communities across the country chosen by the government to receive Education Infrastructure Fund. The fund will use innovative approaches to build school facilities which meet the unique needs of First Nation students living on reserves.

"Westbank First Nation is excited to be working jointly with the Adams Lake Indian Band on school expansions of similar designs to enhance the educational and cultural learning experiences of our communities,” Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie says in a release. “The additional classrooms, multi-purpose areas and features that this project supports will allow for increased enrollment and an improved learning environment to better meet the needs of our growing community."

Adams Lake Indian Band plans to expand Chief Atahm School in Chase. The two local bands are joined by two other B.C. bands, Squiala First Nation and Old Massett Village Council First Nation, and bands from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec in receiving funding to expand education services.

By bundling projects and contracts, employing modular and pre-fabricated construction and using alternative financing measures, the projects will enable more First Nation students to benefit from new or renovated school facilities, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affiars Carolyn Bennett says in the release.

"One of the most important responsibilities I have as Minister is to support First Nations to do what they know is best to ensure the success of their children,” she says. “Improving education infrastructure in First Nations communities is essential for First Nations students to a quality education. These nine First Nation-led school facility projects exemplify innovation in meeting the needs of their students. I look forward to working with these and other groups to make real change in education outcomes in all First Nations communities across the country."

The Innovation Fund was created in 2012 and includes a total investment of $50 million over six years commencing in 2016-2017. Recipients are eligible for a maximum $10 million investment from the fund.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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