SD 72 requests seismic upgrade for Phoenix

School District 72’s five-year wish list has some ambitious projects on it that include making one more local school earthquake proof.

The Board of Education approved the district’s five-year capital plan at a board meeting Oct. 16 which outlines funding requests from the B.C. Ministry of Education for five different projects. Topping the list is a heating and ventilation upgrade at Pinecrest Elementary and the replacement of four school buses. Next on the list is a $6.1 million seismic project at Phoenix middle school.

Although the school district would love to have all the projects funded, only some – or even none – will likely be approved.

“Our request for funding for the school district capital projects doesn’t mean they will be funded but it helps the ministry with understanding our priorities,” said Kevin Patrick, the district’s secretary treasurer. “The ministry will then take a list of priorities from all the districts and decide what projects will be allocated funding. There’s a good chance none of the projects will be approved but we’re always hopeful at least one will be approved.”

The Phoenix project would be upgrading the school to meet the ministry’s seismic standards which are in place to ensure schools can withstand a powerful earthquake.

Carihi and Southgate are the only district 72 schools that have undergone seismic upgrading while Timberline was built to seismic standards.

Patrick said Phoenix was deemed the next priority on the list according to the ministry, but it’s not a top priority when compared to schools across B.C.

“There have been facility reviews done for seismic standards and right now it’s not a high or medium priority, it’s a lower priority as per the ministry’s plan,” Patrick said. “But it is something we’d like to see done. We don’t have a timeline for it, but we requested it in year three. It would be our hope to see it approved.”

Rounding out the district’s capital plan wish list are repairs to the building envelope at the school board office on Pinecrest Road and the installation of new fire sprinkler systems at several schools.

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