(News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo school district chooses priority projects in capital plan

École Hammond Bay expansion, seismic upgrades at Cilaire and Pleasant Valley part of funding request

Work to expand École Hammond Bay and prepare Cilaire and Pleasant Valley elementary schools to deal with earthquakes are projects Nanaimo Ladysmith school district hopes to advance via its next capital plan.

B.C. school districts are mandated by the provincial government to submit a five-year capital plan every year, laying out projects that improve or maintain district buildings and are deemed high priority, including ones for seismic mitigation, school expansion and playground enhancement. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools trustees approved the 2020-21 plan at their June 19 board meeting.

Hammond Bay unveiled a new gym earlier this year and at the time, the B.C. Ministry of Education reaffirmed money to add additional classrooms. Pete Sabo, school district director of planning and operations, said the district is awaiting to hear the go-ahead from the government. According to a staff report, the expansion is estimated to cost $16 million.

“That [planning definition report] document is completely finished,” said Sabo. “The budget, the scope and everything has been clearly defined with the ministry and we’re waiting the ministry’s official response to proceed with the project … We are optimistic that we will hear back from the ministry with positive news.”

RELATED: Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools passes $164.3M budget

RELATED: Province adds more money to Hammond Bay school expansion

If approval is given, Sabo said it isn’t known if ground will break in the upcoming school year, as the district would have to complete design and go to tender.

Project definition reports for seismic upgrades to Cilaire and Pleasant Valley are due Sept. 15, after which time the ministry will evaluate.

“If they support it … typically, they support it with all the funding required to finish the job and then it’s a matter of us finishing the design, procuring the project and going through the construction process,” Sabo said.

Among projects anticipated to be completed by the end of March 2020 include boiler upgrades for Cinnabar Elementary School, of which the ministry will provide $425,000; heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades for Park Avenue, which the ministry is funding to the tune of $600,000 and new accessible playground equipment for Gabriola Elementary School, for which the government has provided $105,000.

The school district submitted its capital plan in the week leading up to the June 30 deadline.


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