Sooke School District members and regional First Nations representatives broke ground on two new Langford schools at 3100 Constellation Avenue on Thursday morning.
Both the 500-seat Pexsisen Elementary and the 700-seat Centre Mountain Lellum Middle are part of a $55.2 million project led by Farmer Construction Ltd.
The name ‘Pexsisen’ was gifted by the Songhees First Nation and means ‘the opening of hands’ or ‘to have one’s hands wide open.’
“It means two years from now, children will be welcomed into the building with open hands,” elder Butch Dick of the Songhees First Nation said during the groundbreaking. He emphasized the name is a sign of gratitude and protection. “That’s what the teachers are going to extend to the children of this school.”
|Chief Russ Chipps of Beecher Bay First Nation spoke to the importance of the name of Centre Mountain Lellym Middle school. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)|
The name ‘Lellum’ was gifted by the Beecher Bay nation and means ‘house’ and ‘the idea of community, where we raise our children’.
“To me it means a place of coming together,” said Chief Russ Chipps of Beecher Bay First Nation, adding that the school should be a place of equality.
This incorporation of Indigenous language into the new school names is what Sooke School District trustee Ravi Parmar said he is most excited about. He also hopes the schools will help to accommodate Langford’s every growing population.
Speaking with Black Press Media in July, Parmar said the district expects to see 400 new students per year with a total of about 15,000 new students by the end of the decade.
Both schools are expected to open by September 2022.
–with files from Aaron Guillen
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