The school district has approved a $195,000 budget for the structural demolition of Evergreen Elementary, phase two of the project. Photo by Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River school board approves funds for demolition of Evergreen Elementary

The SD72 Board of Education has approved a $195,000 budget for phase two of the demolition of Evergreen Elementary—the structural demolition.

Earlier this year the board approved a $70,000 budget for phase one of the demolition project, the removal of the hazardous materials.

“One of the other considerations that we always had to bear in mind as well, while that building was standing and empty, and it wasn’t and couldn’t be used for students it presented an ongoing liability to the school district,” said John Kerr, trustee for SD72. “Dealing with it the way we are removes that liability. While there may not have been anything that happened, if anything had happened it would have been far more expensive than the demolition of the building in the first place.”

The district has been holding onto the property since the school’s closure in 2005, performing the necessary basic maintenance and upkeep required to keep it standing in hopes that someone would want to lease it.

Though Ecole Mer-et-montagne temporarily relocated to the building while awaiting the construction of their new location on Rockland Road, the building has been vacant since 2011.

In 2013 the school board discussed selling the property, to no avail. And if they were to continue trying to lease the property, the roof would have to be replaced, and Kevin Patrick, secretary-treasurer, said that would be a more than $250,000 investment.

The board’s decision to proceed with the removal of the hazardous waste, at their June meeting, guaranteed that the building could no longer be rented or leased.

“We did exhaust all other options,” said Trustee Daryl Hagen. “In the end this was the best decision.”

Though the building will be demolished, the school board intends on keeping the 1,330 sq. metre property, should it be needed for a school in the future.

“(A) School District is in business forever, so when we make these decisions, we make these decisions not only for now but we make these decisions for 10, 15, 50, 100 years from now,” Trustee Richard Franklin said. “That’s why we are making this decision, it is the legacy that we leave that that land will be there for another school as needed.”