UPDATE: The ceremony this afternoon to mark the reopening of parts of the Dene High School in La Loche has wrapped up. paNOW reporter Derek Cornet is in La Loche today as renovations were unveiled at Dene High School. He said the students played a role in a moving ceremony in the school gym.
Reporters were not allowed to record the ceremony.
"One student had a poem to the school about the aftermath of what happened, Others were accepting gifts from the dignitaries that were present, they also were greeting everybody as they came into the gym, and giving a keepsake as they left," Cornet said in describing the ceremony. "This is something that students and staff at the school have been asking for ... now some of their needs have been met at the school to make it more of a comfortable place for students and staff to come."
Some of the school improvements include renovations to the school's front entrance, administration rooms, junior science room, student lounge and washrooms. A wellness centre has also been added.
It is a sombre day for many in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche as Friday marks the completion of renovations at the local high school where a school shooting took place three years ago this month.
Government and school officials are in La Loche today, along with local community leaders and residents for a ceremony Friday afternoon to mark the completion of renovation at Dene High School. Renovations were completed on the school's front entrance, administration rooms, junior science room, student lounge and washrooms following the incident in January 2016 in which four people were killed and seven injured.
"Today is a day of comfort and reflection as we remember all who were affected by the tragic event of January 22, 2016, at Dene High School,” Northern Lights School Division Board Chairperson Joey McCallum said. “We will never forget those who were injured and those whose lives were taken that day. The addition and renovations project is now complete. It is a beautiful space that will be treasured for years to come."
The provincial government funded the $4.45 million renovation project which began last fall.
“Our community has undergone a very traumatic event and that will take a long time to heal from, but we are thankful to the Government of Saskatchewan for funding the renovations that are completed to the areas most impacted,” Mayor Robert St. Pierre said in a statement. “This is a very important step in our healing journey.”
Friday's ceremony will include remarks and presentations from local-area officials and an official ribbon cutting ceremony, flag unveiling and the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Northern Lights School Division and the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
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