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Door not closed on downtown school: minister

Survey will not alter new location of École Whitehorse Elementary School
This map was last updated June 3, 2022. It shows the Takhini Educational Land Reserve, which encompasses three ball diamonds and Takhini Elementary School. (Yukon government/Screenshot)

The Yukon’s Education minister has not written off the notion of having a school in downtown Whitehorse.

“I’ve never said no to a downtown elementary school,” Minister of Education Jeanie McLean told reporters in the cabinet office on March 14.

McLean said she agrees with downtown residents who have expressed their concerns about the importance of having a school in a neighbourhood.

READ MORE: Yukon NDP urges territorial government to maintain a school in downtown Whitehorse

But the structure that currently houses École Whitehorse Elementary School is not sufficient.

The school building, which was built in the 1950s, is ranked number one in need of replacement in the Yukon government’s Whitehorse school replacement ranking update dated April 14, 2022.

“The current facility is not able to meet the current and future programming and community needs, including access to spaces for innovation for inclusive and experiential learning,” McLean said.

The Yukon government announced in a June 2022 news release its plans to relocate the replacement school to the Takhini Educational Land Reserve. While the reserve is already home to three ball diamonds run by Softball Yukon and Takhini Elementary School, the release indicates there is room for two schools on the site.

McLean said the exact location of the replacement school on the site has yet to be determined.

On March 14, the Yukon government announced it is seeking public input via an online survey about school facilities in Whitehorse. The survey is hosted by the Yukon Bureau of Statistics on behalf of the education department. A release indicates feedback will help inform decision making on replacing and renovating aging schools in the city.

“The existing Whitehorse school capital plans that will not change at this stage include: Whistle Bend Elementary School and the new location of École Whitehorse Elementary School,” reads a section of the survey on facts and figures.

The survey closes on May 15.

READ MORE: Whitehorse elementary school to be rebuilt in Takhini ballpark area

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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