Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing for work on both Pleasant Valley and Rutherford elementary schools. Rutherford (pictured) will be used as a temporary school space as seismic work is done at Pleasant Valley. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing for work on both Pleasant Valley and Rutherford elementary schools. Rutherford (pictured) will be used as a temporary school space as seismic work is done at Pleasant Valley. (News Bulletin file)

Rutherford school will by occupied by students once again during seismic upgrades at Pleasant Valley

Busing will be expanded during 2021-22 school year

With Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district prepping for work to mitigate earthquake risks at Pleasant Valley Elementary School, the old Rutherford school is being primed to accommodate displaced students.

B.C.’s Ministry of Education announced last June it would provide close to $19 million in seismic upgrade money for Pleasant Valley and Cilaire elementary schools and Nanaimo Ladysmith school trustees received an update on the major capital projects at a business committee meeting Wednesday.

Work on Pleasant Valley school is expected to take 13 months beginning in July, with a majority of work estimated to be completed by August 2022, according to a staff report.

“We’re planning [information technology] infrastructure, exterior painting, improvements to the school parking, gym floor upgrade … we’re actually taking the wood out of the Franklyn Street gym and going to install it into Pleasant Valley,” Pete Sabo, district executive director of planning and operations, told trustees at the meeting.

Prior to that, work to prepare Rutherford elementary as a “swing space” is expected to take 20 weeks, beginning in February, according to the report. Rutherford was closed in 2018 and district staff previously said Rutherford work would consist of “recommissioning” heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical systems as well as cosmetic work.

“We’re just awarding contracts for the alterations to Rutherford,” said Sabo. “That work is expected to continue from now till [ June], at which time the school will be ready for staff to set up school operations for the 21-22 school year. The school will also be in a position to be used for future seismic projects.”

When asked by Greg Keller, committee chairperson, about how parents would be notified of changes and whether there would be busing, Sabo said a “transition committee” has been formed.

“The Ministry of Education has allowed us to keep a few [replacement buses] for this very purpose, to expand our busing during the seismic program,” he said. “If we get more seismic programs that require busing, we’ll keep those buses on. If we don’t require busing in the future we will then dispose of those buses.”

Work on Cilaire, which will use Woodlands Secondary School as its swing space, will have the same timelines, with work also slated to take 13 months beginning in July.

RELATED: B.C. gov’t provides $19M for seismic upgrades to Nanaimo schools

RELATED: Woodlands proposed to house Cilaire students during seismic work

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