A town in Quebec's Beauce region will be getting a new elementary school after a student's song about its sorry state drew the attention of Premier Francois Legault.
Legault said Monday the 84-year-old l'Accueil school in Scott, Que., which was damaged by recent floods, will be enlarged and moved to a new location outside the flood zone.
Speaking in the municipality south of Quebec City, Legault said he was touched by a song written by a sixth-grade student named James, who highlighted the plight of his school in a widely shared video.
In a song shared on Facebook by the boy's mother, James strums a guitar and asks the premier for a new school because his has been damaged by repeated floods.
"Every year it's flooded," the student sings as images onscreen show a flooded school yard, bare walls and mucky classrooms filled with debris. "It's too bad because I don't have a school any more."
Legault agreed the old school is in bad shape and promised to speed up the building process so the new location can be ready in less than two years.
It's not the first time the school has flooded. Some $40,000 was spent to repair it in 2014 and, this year the cost of emergency work, such as stripping walls, disinfecting classrooms and replacing damaged equipment, is estimated at $250,000.
"Living through that each year brings stress," Legault said. "We can't say that education is a priority, and then put our children in conditions like these."
He said the new school, with an estimated construction cost of $18 million, will have 10 additional classrooms to meet the needs of the region's growing population.
He also responded to James in a video message on social media, in which he thanked the student and assured him his request would be granted.