FORT ST. JOHN -- The province is providing almost $17 million to a school an hour north of Fort St. John.

According to the press release, they are funding $16.8 million to partially replace Wonowon Elementary. The replacement will include upgrading the existing water well and filtration system. They will also install ramps, making the school more accessible. The project will also make space for 20 additional student seats within the school.

Minister of Education and Child Care Rachna Singh says, “In remote communities like Wonowon, schools are more than just classrooms. We are making historic investments to ensure all communities have access to schools that are engaging community hubs.”

“The Peace River North Board Of Education is pleased to see the approval of funding for the replacement of Wonowon School. An updated facility will improve the equity of opportunity and allow us to meet the education and safety needs of our students in this area,” said Helen Gilbert, chair of the Peace River North Board Of Education.

Construction is projected to start in the summer of 2024 and be ready for students in the fall of 2025.

The investment comes after the $58 million government provided since 2017 to the Peace River North School District to build a new gym at Upper Halfway Elementary, which will be completed this fall.

The government says there is $3.4 billion in the 2023 budget for school capital projects over the next three years, including new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and replacements, and land purchases for future schools.