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New NDSS top of wish list, but SD68 also recognizes Lantzville’s population growth

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees recommend list of capital priorities
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees recommended a 2024-25 major capital plan which will be sent to the province in hopes of receiving funding. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo District Secondary School, which was over capacity by over 100 students this year, is at the top of the school district’s wish list for provincial funding.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees unanimously recommended approving the 2024-25 major capital plan at a business committee meeting Wednesday, June 14.

The plan outlines to the province which major projects need priority funding.

Among the four project submission categories, NDSS ranked first priority for three categories: classroom and facility additions, replacement and renovation, and seismic upgrades. Chase River Elementary was ranked second for those same three categories and ranked third in the site acquisition category.

The capital plan action sheet noted that NDSS is SD68’s highest capital priority as it’s already over its capacity of 1,400 students, and it’s expecting an enrolment of 1,725 by the 2028 school year which would require approximately 13 portables.

Chase River was the second priority choice due to the seven portables forecasted for use in the 2023-2024 school year. Departure Bay, Randerson Ridge, McGirr, and Frank J. Ney Elementary Schools were de-prioritized this year due to plans to re-open Rutherford Elementary School.

Mark Walsh, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools secretary-treasurer, also mentioned Ladysmith Primary being removed from the major capital list this year to accommodate future plans in the north end of the district.

“West of Pleasant Valley but in Lantzville, that’s an area of significant growth that we don’t actually have land for a future elementary school,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’re looking for an expansion of Pleasant Valley, it means we would be looking for land where we think the growth is going to happen.”

The plan will be sent to the Ministry of Education and Child Care, which will then choose which projects to fund, which Walsh said is normally one to two projects per year. The ministry is expected to reply to the district by next spring.

Related: Sport academy argues against potential relocation from NDSS to Barsby

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Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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