A new era is coming to Fort la Reine School.

The Portage la Prairie School Division approved the addition of two grades to the school at Tuesday evening's board meeting. The school will be expanding to Grades 7 & 8 in the coming years to meet the needs of Portage's growth.

Superintendent Todd Cuddington explains that this exciting news comes as the division has had to forecast where additional space and room for more students would be.

"Schools were starting to fill up, and what we believe will happen, as there's movement in housing for that catchment, is that there will be a number of new apartments coming in that Fort la Reine area."

Cuddington says it was a natural decision to have students stay at the school they have become familiar with and reduce the number of transitions.

"Students are more successful when they're not on the move. They can develop deeper relationships with their school, teachers, and friends. So, that really is what was behind it," he continues. "Additionally, the enrollment at Fort la Reine is such that we have capacity and classroom space available, and so we just think it's a win-win."

Cuddington notes that the division will ultimately be requesting a new gym for Fort la Reine School.

"We'll transition from an elementary philosophy to a middle school philosophy. In many ways, it will look like an Oakville with the same size and same composition, but in a nice central location."

Cuddington adds that he anticipates that the school will embrace this decision and ensure that the students at Fort la Reine have the same opportunities other schools offer.

The expansion is set to take place over the next two years, with Grade 7s being added in 2023-24 and Grade 8s the following year in 2024-25.