Halt to Cedar school work frees up money

NANAIMO – Annual facilities grant put toward school projects.

With the Nanaimo school board delaying Cedar school conversion work to review the 10-year facilities plan, annual facilities grant money earmarked for that project has been doled out elsewhere.

At this month’s business committee meeting, the board, which voted to release facilities grant money in January, heard from Pete Sabo, director of planning and operations, who said projects worth about $191,000 have been approved out of the Cedar money and remaining contingency accounts.

According to the school district, $7,500 will spent to review traffic issues at Chase River Elementary School. A civil engineer will be retained to examine options on a bus loop.

École North Oyster’s computer lab is being reconfigured to accommodate more students and in addition, a flexible plywood sports wall, or bounce wall, and new flooring in the office area are being installed. These cost $20,000, $7,500 and $30,000 respectively.

Reorganization was needed due to changes with the VAST learning alternatives program. The district will spend $8,500 to consolidate support staff offices from various locations to Nanaimo District Secondary School.

Repair work is needed to address brick facing issues at Randerson Ridge Elementary, to the tune of $20,000.

Gym door replacement at Rock City Elementary has a price tag of $5,000, and $25,000 will also be spent on an exterior staircase from the rear of the school down to the field.

As part of the Cedar secondary consolidation, work will be done at the John Barsby Secondary computer lab, with $25,000 spent on reconfiguration. Sabo characterized it as high priority for the school.

The school board has approved $7,500 for a bounce wall at Departure Bay Elementary School and $25,000 for a set of exterior stairs from the gym at École Hammond Bay to the field. Finally, Woodlands Secondary’s pottery shop will see $5,000 in washroom wall repairs.

The Ministry of Education usually requires annual facilities grant money to be spent within the year, but due to the teachers’ strike, which started in June and ended in September, an extension was granted.

“The ministry indicated that districts didn’t have to spend [money] in that one year,” Sabo said. “They could carry it forward to the second year.”

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