With Woodlands Secondary School set to close in July, Nanaimo Christian School has expressed interest in short-term rental of the gymnasium.
James Sijpheer, Nanaimo Christian principal, said while his school is currently in the process of expanding, it doesn’t have a full-size gym and currently rents out space at Oliver Woods Community Centre.
Sijpheer said Nanaimo Christian originally examined relocating the entire campus to the Woodlands site, but a cost analysis revealed that the move wouldn’t put it in any better of a financial position.
“We’re trying to gain traction with our athletic programs, working really hard to develop grassroots programs for the younger grades moving up … it’s not a very consistent schedule because of all the community programs that take priority and should take priority as a community facility.
“We’d love to be able to host home games in tournaments and just don’t have that ability, so we [wondered] if the Woodlands gym was available for a year rental or lease,” said Sijpheer.
Furthermore, enrolment is increasing and there is a “crunch” for gym space during the day, Sijpheer said.
A full-size gym is the next part of a multi-phase plan at the school’s Holland Road site, but Sijpheer said fundraising and development still need to take place and he estimates work could begin in June 2017.
“I think with the length of the build, because we have to do it in a way that doesn’t impact our ability to operate … we’re looking at a potential 18- to 24- month opportunity,” said Sijpheer.
Steve Rae, Nanaimo school board chairman, said no decision has been made about the future of Woodlands.
“We are having a discussion on our asset management over the summer on moving forward … we are looking into it and what we’re doing to do with that property,” said Rae.