P.E.I. government budgets $8.8M for refurbishment of École Évangéline

As part of the government of P.E.I.'s capital budget released Friday, the province announced $8.8 million in funding toward the refurbishment of École Évangéline. 

The capital budget is the first from this Progressive Conservative government.

We're going to look at seeing if that's enough for renovations, which we don't think it is. — Natacha Joncas, French Language School Board

École Évangéline in Abram-Village is one of three of the Island's older schools that will receive funding toward refurbishment over the next five years. Eliot River and Montague Consolidated schools will also be receiving funding. 

"That's a beginning for us. We're going to look at seeing if that's enough for renovations, which we don't think it is because the report we received from the department is $10 million just to renovate the school and not change anything in the structure," said Natacha Joncas, director general of the French Language School Board.

Joncas told CBC the funding will be enough for the initial stage of refurbishment for École Évangéline. 

Province of P.E.I.

"It is just to begin the work and to look what needs to be done in the school. The school is the oldest school in P.E.I., on the francophone side. The roof is leaking, the windows, there's probably asbestos, we don't know," she said. 

While specific details are yet to be pinned down, the community is pleased to see the school included in the provincial capital budget, said Nick Arsenault, executive director of Conseil scolaire-communautaire Évangéline, an organization that works to ensure the development of programs and services in French with a view to enhancing the vitality of the Acadian community, according to its website.

"The last couple of years we thought we submitted a good proposal and it would go through but other factors came into play. This time around we were pretty sure that it was our turn, so to speak," Arsenault said. 

The community has been pushing for the refurbishment of the francophone school for the last decade, he said. 

"It's very critical for a community that tries to live in French for the most part within an English province. It presents challenges that most other communities don't have," Aresnault said.

"The central focal point … to ensure the survival of our community and of our language and our Acadian culture, is to make sure that this building, the centre Éducation Évangéline is strong."

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