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Saskatoon Public Schools
Inspiring Learning
PotashCorp Eco-Science and Indigenous Learning Centre
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Since Brightwater’s inception in 1990, it has been a dream for many to have a centre on-site. Thanks to Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation and PotashCorp, it has become a reality.

In April 2013, the PotashCorp Eco-Science and Indigenous Learning Centre opened its doors to Saskatoon Public Schools students.


Benefits for SPS students

Brightwater and the First Nation, Inuit and Métis Education Unit work together to provide middle years and high school teachers with curriculum driven out-of-school programming. By presenting Western perspectives of nature and Indigenous ways of knowing in supportive ways, Brightwater’s inquiry based programming enables more than1,500 grades 6 to 12 students and their teachers to make meaningful connections to the land each school year. However, it can be tough to connect to the land for more than an hour at a time, in gale force winds, or in -30 weather!

The learning centre allows our students to experience native prairie throughout the school year.

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This will have the greatest positive impact on our high school experiences since the SPS site is the base for Brightwater’s high school land-based and Indigenous Knowledge programming.

We are now able to provide a Brightwater experience at the SPS site knowing we have a safe, dry and warm space for students to retreat into when the weather becomes predictably unco-operative!

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What can we learn from the design of the Centre?

The exterior and interior designs and materials will provide an opportunity to teach students about ecologically sustainable architecture that reflects Indigenous perspectives and content. 

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The shape of the building resembles a tipi. Large windows face south to take advantage of passive solar radiation during the fall, winter and early spring.

The eco-friendly tin roof allows for rainwater collection and the natural spruce siding from our northern forests blends well with the native prairie surroundings. 

The main doors lead into a large vaulted ceiling central classroom, with a smaller meeting room, office, kitchen, mechanical room and washrooms along the back and side walls.

The concrete floor throughout the building has been piped for a future radiant in-floor heating system.

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At the centre of the main classroom area, a circular healing wheel symbol divided into the 4 Cardinal directions has been embossed in the concrete. 
The high efficiency wood-burning fire place is capable of heating the building and the heat recovery technologies will also help to reduce heating cost and use of fossil fuels.
 
​The centre also utilizes water and lighting conservation technologies, and low emission paints and construction materials.
 
The paint colours reflect earth tones that are of significance to the First Nations and the wrap-round deck provides a viewing platform of the native prairie below.
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Within the Elder Ken Goodwill Room, a tribute wall to the Whitecap Dakota First Nation and Round Prairie Métis community honours their rich history and connection to the land. An adjacent wall highlights the evolution of the SPS Brightwater programming along the Brightwater cek.
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