Big River First Nation, SK

Chief John Keenatch High School and Jim Neilson Sports Complex

Project Details


$37.5 Million


November 2022


96,627 sq.ft.


Prime Consulting, Architecture, Interior Design, Construction Contract Administration

The new Chief John Keenatch High School is designed to house Grade 6 to 12 students and is a state-of-the-art educational facility employing 21st-century learning principles. The design team worked closely with the Big River First Nation leadership, Elders, school staff, students, and community members to create a facility that addresses their educational programming while also including culturally unique spaces. A particular focus was placed on the importance of the Cree language and inclusion of Elder and cultural celebration spaces as well as land-based learning. The new high school also includes a lecture hall that is equipped with the latest instructional technologies to facilitate teaching and learning. The auditorium not only is an innovative use of the classroom spaces but also offers unique learning opportunities and activities such as drama and performing arts for students. The auditorium also serves as a gathering space for the students during school hours and for community use after school hours.

A collaborative component being designed concurrently with the new school design is the development of a new ice arena that is connected to the new school facility. The Sports Complex is named after Jim Neilson, a well-respected member of Big River First Nation and a long-time NHL hockey star with the intent of inspiring the youth of the community to achieve greatness. The multi-use sports facility features a 1,500-seat arena, artificial soccer turf, football field, baseball field, and a new arbour celebration space for powwows and celebrations.

Since its grand opening in September 2022, the joint-use facility has greatly enhanced recreational opportunities with access to future social, educational, and recreational programming for both students and the community.

Photo Credit:

King Rose Visuals