An asset management diagram approved by Nanaimo school board. NANAIMO LADYSMITH PUBLIC SCHOOLS

School district to look at options for former Woodlands Secondary site

New asset management document maps out direction district plans to take with various properties

Nanaimo school district will consider the fate of Woodlands Secondary, including possibly putting it up for sale.

The school district recently released an asset management document the school board approved in a closed meeting, showing properties it plans to hold onto, those with short-term opportunities and others it could possibly get rid of.

A number of schools are off the table for discussion, like Dufferin, which is on Crown land,and Rutherford Elementary, where commitments have been made not to make any further decisions on the facility’s future, while others like three hectares of Uplands Park Elementary and sections of Cedar Secondary have “short-term development potential” the district plans to explore.

But it’s properties approved for possible disposition that the district is interested in doing something with in the “not too distant future,” or the next five years, according to superintendent John Blain.

The district plans to begin an analysis of Woodlands Secondary, shut down in 2016, and its property on Selby Street, which are considered to have high potential returns of more than $500,000. Also included for possible disposition are the former VAST property on Strickland Street, South Wellington Elementary, a property in Extension and a portion of Gabriola Elementary that the community has shown interest in buying.

An analysis will consider enrolment, growth of the community and value of the properties, disposing of all, some, or any of the property at all, and options like demolition of buildings or putting sites up for sale.

“Just because we’ve decided as a board that these are projects that we’re going to talk about, it doesn’t mean there’s for sale signs on every one of these facilities,” said Steve Rae, school board chairman at a public meeting last week. “All it means is we want to gather more information moving forward.”

Blain told the News Bulletin that Woodlands and Selby Street are not in any immediate plans and something needs to be done with them, pointing out that the Selby Street building is in so much disrepair it needs to be removed and Woodlands is at a point where the district should take a look at what it’s going to do with it because the building could quickly fall into enough disrepair to be a hazard.

The sites are also on the table because of their location.

“There’s quite a bit of value in both places. One is downtown core and it has been sitting vacant for years so probably worthwhile for us to take a serious look at removing that off of our inventory and Woodlands is a very large property,” Blain said. “We know that the hospital and the city and ministry of transportation has some interest in it so we should do some preliminary work so if asked by any of them to start to have a discussion about some of the property or all, we’ve got some good data that we can work with.”

A report is expected in the fall and data will be included in discussions for a new facilities plan, according to Blain, who also noted some properties listed for possible disposition will involve community consultation.

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