Eastern Kings celebrates opening of new French school, community centre
Students, parents, educators and community leaders gathered today in Rollo Bay to officially open the new École La-Belle-Cloche and Pavillon de l’Est.
Located on the site of the former Rollo Bay school, the facility houses a provincial Early Years Centre, a K-12 school for up to 150 students, and community meeting space. Construction of the 45,000 square foot facility was supported by funding of $6.7 million from the provincial government and $2.4 million from the federal government.
“The Acadian and Francophone community of eastern PEI now have a dedicated space to support the growth of the French language and culture for all ages, “ said Premier Wade MacLauchlan. “Le Pavillon de l’Est will be a modern, spacious gathering place for the community and Islanders of the area to discover and celebrate French cultural events. “
The spacious classrooms, sports fields, gymnasium and exercise room, music room, multi-purpose room and other amenities support enhanced programming for all students, particularly high school programming with new culinary, trades and science labs.
In addition, the new provincial Early Years Centre – Château des Étoiles – offers full-day and after-school programs, and more opportunity to immerse children in the French language and culture from a very young age.
“This beautiful facility enables young children to access high quality early learning experiences in the French language,” said Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Jordan Brown. “The modern and spacious school environment supports the effective delivery of the K-12 curriculum, community and family engagement in learning, and the growth of the French culture in this area where it once thrived.”
The community component of the facility, Pavillon de l’Est, offers meeting spaces, theatre, and kitchen facilities to host French cultural activities.
“Our two official languages are at the heart of Canadian identity, and the Government of Canada is proud to support official-language minority communities,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, federal minister of Canadian Heritage. “The action plan that we unveiled in March proposes concrete measures for education and early childhood. Thanks to the strategies our government has adopted, other school-community centres like La-Belle-Cloche will be created all across the country.”
The original École La-Belle-Cloche opened in 2003 for 14 grades 1 to 3 students in a small repurposed facility in Souris. After outgrowing this space, the school and community centre moved to the former Fortune Consolidated School in 2009. Students and staff moved into the Rollo Bay facility on April 19, 2018.