School has been in session for nearly two weeks but School District 54 hosted a grand opening for the new Walnut Park Elementary School.

The public, dignitaries and staff gathered outside the school on Saturday (Sept 18) to celebrate the opening and tour the new building.

Students have been in the school since the start of the school year on September 8.

The school has been in the works since 2018 after the province made the announcement that the province would be providing $29.17 million for the school and SD54 contributing $2.36 million.

Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen said the new Walnut Park Elementary School is one of the most beautiful buildings in the Northwest.

“I think it’s us showing and expressing our dedication, our confidence and our desire to invest in our kids. We live in a world where our ability to have our kids have the best opportunities they can requires buildings like this with such dedicated staff,” he said.

Cullen added his two sons attend Walnut Park and are excited to come to school everyday.

Principal of Walnut Park Nicole Davey was also in attendance at the grand opening.

She said the new school has exceeded all expectations.

“It’s a modern 21st century learning environment that supports our values of collaboration, curiosity and creativity. The students and staff love the bright open feel,” Davey said.

She added there are currently 311 students enrolled at Walnut Park but there is capacity for up to 440 students and there are also 42 new child care spaces.

A classroom at Walnut Park Elementary (supplied by: Lindsay Newman)

The new school features a gym, tech rooms, large classrooms and a learning commons.

Additionally, a totem pole to honour Wet’suwet’en people which is expected to be placed at the front of the school which is currently in construction at K’san Historical Village and Museum.