Woodbank and North Cedar schools to be amalgamated

NANAIMO – Kindergarten to Grade 7 students will attend the elementary.

The student populations of Woodbank Primary and North Cedar Intermediate schools will merge to form one come September.

Trustees approved updates to Nanaimo school district’s facilities plan last week, including a measure that will see Woodbank, a kindergarten to Grade 3 school, closing and students relocating to North Cedar Intermediate (Grade 4-7). The school will be re-christened Cedar Elementary School, taking students from kindergarten to Grade 7.

While Jalene Dick, Woodbank parent advisory council president, is saddened by the school closure, she said there are benefits to being under one roof. Everyone is happy to be moving forward, she said.

“Obviously losing a school is kind of a sad thing, but we’ve been torn between the two schools for so many years, with families doing pickups and drop-offs at two schools, so for that reason, I think that everyone’s ready to be together,” said Dick.

In terms of the benefits of students going to North Cedar Intermediate, Dick said it’s a bigger school and can accommodate the increase in students.

“We do have quite a large student population out here, so once we’re all together, we’re definitely going to need some space,” Dick said.

School district staff had originally recommended shuttering North Cedar, but trustees decided against that.

“I think the majority of the board felt that it’s a larger piece of property, it has the ability to be a more enhanced facility than Woodbank does,” said Steve Rae, school board chairman.

Woodbank will close in June and Cedar Elementary will open in time for the start of the 2016-17 school year.