The Sooke School District (SD62) Board of Education recently revealed the name for its forthcoming elementary school in Langford’s Latoria neighborhood. The school will be known as SĆIȺNEW̱ SṮEȽIṮḴEȽ, a name gifted by the Scia’new First Nation. The new school is expected to open its doors in the fall of 2025, accommodating 480 students from kindergarten through grade five.
SĆIȺNEW̱ SṮEȽIṮḴEȽ, which translates to “salmon children” in the SENĆOŦEN language, is a meaningful reflection of the surrounding environment’s rich sea life and its importance to the local community, according to Chief Russ Chipps of the Scia’new First Nation. The Scia’new people take pride in sharing their language and heritage with the broader community.
The name holds more significance than a simple label; it signifies the Sooke School District’s commitment to acknowledging and addressing the painful history associated with educational institutions. The district hopes that the new school will serve as a place of healing and hope, ensuring that such history is never forgotten.
Architecturally, the school is a stunning four-story, 45,000-square-foot building with 16 classrooms and four kindergarten spaces. ThinkSpace, the firm behind the design, envisions the school as a tree house integrated into the natural landscape, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
By incorporating the SENĆOŦEN language in the school’s name, SD62 aims to recognize and preserve the local Indigenous culture. This commitment to visibility helps students and families within the district’s traditional territories feel a stronger connection to their culture. It is also an invitation for those visiting these territories to learn more about the rich heritage that has shaped the community over generations.
As the school district prepares for the future, it anticipates substantial growth, projecting an increase of more than 300 students annually for the next 15 years. With over 12,000 students already enrolled, the district is focused on several capital projects, including new school constructions, expansions, and seismic replacement initiatives.
What is the meaning of the name SĆIȺNEW̱ SṮEȽIṮḴEȽ?
SĆIȺNEW̱ SṮEȽIṮḴEȽ translates to “salmon children” in the SENĆOŦEN language, which is spoken by the Scia’new First Nation.
What is the significance of the school’s name?
The school’s name reflects the abundance of sea life in the region, emphasizing its importance to the Scia’new people. It also represents the Sooke School District’s commitment to acknowledging and healing from the painful history associated with educational institutions.
How does the school’s design integrate with the surrounding landscape?
The architect designed the school to resemble a tree house, blending harmoniously with the rugged terrain. The building is elevated on one side while providing panoramic views of the surrounding landscape on the other.
What is the goal of incorporating Indigenous language and culture into the school?
By incorporating Indigenous language and culture, the Sooke School District aims to reflect and preserve the local heritage. This initiative serves to strengthen the connection between students and families within the traditional territories and invites others to learn about the rich Indigenous culture that has shaped the community for generations.
How is the Sooke School District preparing for future growth?
The Sooke School District expects to accommodate a growing student population, with projections of over 300 additional students each year for the next 15 years. The district is actively engaged in capital projects, including constructing new schools, expanding existing facilities, and replacing seismic buildings.