A project to expand École Hammond Bay Elementary in north Nanaimo is expected to see the addition of 10 classrooms and kindergarten, special education and multi-purpose rooms. (News Bulletin file)

Students projected to be in new wing of École Hammond Bay in two years

Project to expand north-end French immersion school to add 13 classrooms

Students are anticipated to be in class at a new wing of École Hammond Bay Elementary by February 2022, according to school district staff.

A business case to expand the French immersion school in Nanaimo’s north end was approved by the B.C. Ministry of Education in April 2018 and according to an update from Kelsey Bakewell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools facilities planning manager, at the Feb. 12 business committee meeting, the project will see a two-storey design and the addition of 10 classrooms, as well as kindergarten, special education and multi-purpose rooms.

The price tag is approximately $16 million. The district will contribute $1.2 million of local capital to the project, according to a staff report.

School capacity will increase and there are currently 88 people on a wait-list for French immersion kindergarten, according to the school district.

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There will be other work done on the property as well, including changes to the parking lot.

“We’re going to add parking spaces, make it look like a parking lot, not just a gravel surface, and we’re also looking at the entrance to the parking lot as well and working with the city to see if there is some way that we can help traffic flow because it can get kind of congested there at times,” Bakewell said.

Four portables, currently on site, are expected to be relocated by district staff between now and May 2020.

The budget will not include any renovations or seismic upgrades unless they are “absolutely required for the expansion” Bakewell said.

Currently, the district is in the design development stage of the project, with Bakewell estimating the project going to tender by November, with a contract for construction being awarded by the end of 2020.

“The construction will take about a year and we should be able to occupy, if things are going according to the schedule, February 2022,” Bakewell told trustees.


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