SD60 trustees approve $125-million capital plan

School trustees endorsed a new $125-million capital plan on Monday evening, one filled with provincial funding asks for new schools, buses, and other upgrades.

The district’s number one ask to the province remains funding for a new middle school, now estimated to cost upwards of $62 million. The district currently has land next to Ma Murray school for that, and is facing growing enrolment pressures in the junior years. 

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The district has changed course on plans for a replacement for Charlie Lake Elementary, instead proposing to pursue upwards of $13 million of funding to replace an old portable wing of the school that dates back to the 1970s with eight new classrooms.

Secretary-treasurer Brenda Hooker said that may prove more favourable to the province after it spent money last summer to upgrade the school’s gymnasium. With the province’s focus on seismic upgrades at Lower Mainland schools, it will be at least 10 years before the ministry allocates any money for replacement schools, Hooker added.

“The capital branch has indicated that perhaps an addition might be more favourable for funding replacement,” Hooker said.

“Now, the gym looks fantastic at Charlie Lake, which doesn’t help us as far as getting a whole replacement school, but these things need to be addressed.”

That also has impacts for a planned $26.6-million replacement for Ecole Central; however, it may be beneficial for Wonowon Elementary, where a $7.4 million three-classroom modular school for 75 students is proposed. A replacement for Ecole Central is still at the top of the priority list for the district, Hooker said.

The district is also asking for $7.25 million to secure land for a new high school, and $3.5 million for another elementary school. It has identified $1.97 million for a gymnasium at Upper Halfway Elementary. 

The district has identified $2.5 million for boiler upgrades at Alwin Holland, $150,000 for sewage upgrades at Prespatou, and $475,000 for a dust collection system upgrade at North Peace Secondary. Those funds are being requested through the province’s regular school enhancement program, of which the district has been successful in the past, Hooker said.

It’s also asking for funding for new playgrounds at Taylor and Bert Ambrose, and for five replacement buses. It's also asking for $126,000 for LED light upgrades at NPSS, Hudson's Hope, Dr. Kearney, and Prespatou to help cut emissions. 

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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