Planning process underway for new secondary school

The school district announced last week it has begun its master planning process for the Nanaimo District Secondary School site.

The blueprints for a brand-new Nanaimo District Secondary School are just a blank sheet of paper right now, which means anything is possible.

The Nanaimo school district announced last week it has begun its master planning process for the NDSS site. The district’s 10-year facilities plan calls for the high school to be rebuilt in time for the fall semester in 2017.

The school district hired a planning firm, Brook Pooni Associates, and Cornerstone Architecture – both based out of Vancouver – to work with staff over the next eight months to create a vision for a new NDSS.

The school board has already submitted its capital plan to the Ministry of Education, including a request for $62 million for the new secondary school.

“We’re hoping that by doing a comprehensive site development plan, we can convince the ministry to fund it,” said Jamie Brennan, board chairman.

NDSS sits on a larger parcel of school district property and is adjacent to city land and Vancouver Island University, so there are opportunities for creative thinking.

“We really want this to be a true partnership with stakeholders, because we can’t afford to do it all ourselves for one thing, and we want this site to be multi-use in all aspects…” Brennan said. “The potential is quite huge for that site to really serve this community well.”

Vancouver Island University, for example, has long desired a new gymnasium, so a massive construction project right next door is an impetus to try to make that happen, said Dan Hurley, VIU’s executive director of university relations.

“A new athletics facility with a health and wellness component is one of our top capital priorities,” he said. “So certainly it makes a lot of sense for us to be talking to the school district about that particular project.”

He mentioned a trades building as another possible co-operative effort, but stressed that all of these ideas are just preliminary discussions at this stage.

The City of Nanaimo will be another stakeholder in the planning. Tom Hickey, general manager of community services, said the city needs to know how the new NDSS will interface with the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. The municipality would also be interested in talking about opportunities for public amenities at the site.

“I think at the end of the day, it will probably provide benefit to not only NDSS, not only the school board, but the community as a whole,” Hickey said.

The school district is budgeting $47,000 for planning costs. Brennan said he is anticipating some “pretty wide-ranging” discussions over the coming months, and said people shouldn’t jump to any conclusions, “because we’re a long way from having any conclusions.”

But a blank blueprint is a start.

“We’ve sort of been stagnant for some time, since the former facilities plan was turned down by the former board,” Brennan said. “This is tremendously exciting for me because I’d like to see things happen.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read