Work continues on Wellington seismic project

NANAIMO: School district staff work to get final approval for the Wellington Secondary School seismic upgrade project.

Nanaimo school district staff are working hard to get final approval for the Wellington Secondary School seismic upgrade project.

The goal is to have the project development report completed and submitted to the Education Ministry by Nov. 30 – at the ministry’s request – with the hope that final approval would happen about three months after that, said Pete Sabo, director of planning and operations.

He said the project development report outlines the scope and cost of the project, including what to do with students during the construction phase, and it is the final step – staff just finished a report detailing  what seismic upgrades are needed – before a capital project agreement approving the release of money can be signed with the Education Ministry.

“That report is our final recommendation to the ministry and it’s proof to the ministry that we know what we’re doing,” said Sabo.

Once the district has the money, it must then find a company to do the work before the project gets started, he said.

Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said trustees are eager to complete this project.

“The opportunity is that we’re going to be able to make that school safe,” he said. “It is a pretty tight timeline. There’s an element of risk in this fast tracking, but we want this project done.”

The district initially received preliminary approval for the upgrades at Wellington in 2005, but in 2007, the district tied it to the previous facilities renewal plan, which was then voted down in 2008.

The old plan had called for an expansion of the school as well as the upgrade so that another high school in the district could be closed.