Big Grassy River First Nation’s school gets $3 million upgrade

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The federal government will provide over $2.9 million to expand and upgrade the Pegamigaabo School in the Big Grassy River First Nation.

“Investing in green upgrades to public infrastructure makes sense for our environment, our communities, and our economy,” said Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.

“The upgrades and expansion to the Pegamigaabo School will reduce operational costs and GHG emissions while also increasing space and resources available for youth programs and Ojibway language instruction.”

The First Nation will retrofit the Pegamigaabo School with solar panels, high-efficiency windows and power-assisted doors. Installing a 135-kilovolt rooftop solar system on the school will lower its operating costs and allow it to continue operations during a grid disruption. These improvements will reduce the facility’s energy consumption by an estimated 59.9% and greenhouse gas emissions by 18.4 tonnes annually.

Big Grassy River First Nation will also be expanding the school to add a new pre-kindergarten classroom and an Ojibway language classroom.

“Big Grassy River First Nation is extremely excited at the opportunity being provided to the children of the Community in being selected as one of the recipients of the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program for the Retrofit and Expansion project,” said Lynn Indian, Chief of Big Grassy River First Nation. “This project will allow our children of the community access to safe, reliable, and healthy learnings environments which will provide an important foundation to life learning.”

The Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program will provide $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits and new construction.

Applicants with large retrofit projects to existing community buildings or new community building projects with total eligible costs ranging from $3 million to $25 million were accepted through a competitive intake process which closed on July 6, 2021

Small and medium retrofit projects to existing community buildings ranging in total eligible cost from $100,000 to $2,999,999 will be accepted and funded on a rolling intake basis.

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