Replacing Cedar Elementary is one of the top capital project priorities for the school district. Photo by Mike Chouinard/ Campbell River Mirror

Expansion, replacement and seismic work are top requests for Campbell River School District

Replacing Cedar Elementary is costliest item on wish list to Ministry of Education

Seismic work at Penfield, expansion of Ocean Grove and replacement of Cedar Elementary are among the top priorities for School District No. 72 for its capital plan.

At the final meeting of the school year, staff distributed the list of project requests to go to the Ministry of Education in the coming school year.

“We’re looking for the board to approve our submission,” secretary-treasurer Kevin Patrick told trustees. “It’s only our submission at this time.”

The board unanimously passed a motion to approve the list of projects.

Each year, school districts submit their list of capital projects from their five-year capital to the provincial government in the hopes of being funded. In March, School District No. 72 received word from the Ministry of Education that the top two requests from last year were being funded. The province is providing $346,494 for the upgrade and installation of a dust collector at Timberline Secondary and $505,885 for the costs of HVAC system upgrades at Carihi Secondary.

The province has six programs under which districts can apply. The districts are to prioritize the list for each.

“Once we’ve submitted it, we’ll hear in March or April of next year whether we’ve been approved for projects that we hope to get built in 2019,” Patrick said.

Seismic upgrade work at Penfield Elementary is the only priority in the Seismic Mitigation Program and is estimated at $3,880,000.

Under the Expansion Program, the only request is for a two-room expansion at Ocean Grove Elementary. This is supposed to cost $1,270,000.

The highest priced item being requested is the replacement of Cedar Elementary, expected to be $8.9 million.

Trustee Ted Foster asked about the estimate for the school, which Patrick said the estimate was probably on the low side.

“It’s not including new land, since the request would be that the building would be built on the same piece of land,” Patrick said, “but we know that the replacement of Cedar is part of the board’s 10-year facility plan.”

He also stressed it is important to the ministry for boards to get items on lists in a timely manner, even if there is little likelihood a project is funded the following year, because a district can show the project’s priority when applying in future years.

“Typically, with a replacement, province-wide there’s maybe one or two per year,” he said. “There’s hundreds of requests…. It’s important that the board is really clear to the province what our priorities are.”

The requests under the other programs come with a lower pricetag. Under the School Enhancement Program, the top two requests are for boiler replacements in different parts of Carihi, with each running between $500,000 and $600,000. After that, the priorities are for boiler replacements at Ecole Willow Point Elementary and Ecole Phoenix Middle School, estimated at $140,000 and $280,000, respectively, and woodshop ventilation at Southgate Middle School, estimated at $390,500.

The district is also applying for the boiler replacements at Ecole Willow Point and Ecole Phoenix under the Carbon Neutral Capital Program.

Finally, there are requests for replacing playgrounds at Penfield, Georgia Park Elementary and Pinecrest Elementary. Penfield, at $115,000, is the top priority. The other two are each estimated to cost at $90,000.