Grant money earmarked to help rebuild south-end Nanaimo secondary school

NANAIMO – School trustees unanimously approved a measure that will see $2.5 million set aside for a new high school.

The Nanaimo school district board unanimously approved a measure that will see $2.5 million in local capital money set aside for a new Nanaimo District Secondary School.

Phil Turin, school district secretary-treasurer, recommended the motion as the new high school is a priority that falls in line with the school district’s 10-year facilities plan.

The school district has met with the Ministry of Education in the past year, and while the government has stated there isn’t any money currently available for new schools, Turin said the school district will have to provide part of the funding when it does become available.

“The ministry, at some point in the future, when things get good, there will be money for renovations and rebuilds and those kind of things and districts [that] have money that they’ve saved over the years, through disposition of assets etc., will be in good position to acquire funding,” said Turin.

He said that in the past, school districts could go to the ministry, present their plan and state what they hoped to achieve. Now the ministry wants school districts to show it how much money they have, he said.

“That’s what I’m telling the trustees … if you want to go ahead and do the rebuild for the Nanaimo secondary school, we have met with the ministry and I recommend that you start putting this money into a separate account and that’s where it sits and that’s your money planning for the new secondary school,” Turin said.

The majority of money in the local capital fund comes from sale of unused properties. The balance increased to about $2.66 million following the sale of the former Princess Royal Elementary School in September.

Local capital funds can only be used for building projects, according to the school district.

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