Consultation on Sicamous schools pushed ahead

Consultation process to begin immediately, but this does not mean the school district intends to move forward on high school conversion.

A proposal to convert Eagle River Secondary into a K-12 school is being pushed forward, but the proposed date for the change remains the same.

At the March 8 school board meeting, trustees decided to move the required 60-day consultation process on the plan to begin immediately, but this does not mean the school district intends to move the conversion forward. The proposed target date to move all students into Eagle River Secondary and close Parkview Elementary remains September 2017.

The reason to advance the public consultation, however, is so a decision can be made early enough to allow for needed renovations to the Eagle River Secondary building to be made over two summers. The school district doesn’t want to be undertaking renovation work while classes are in session, or be on too short a timeline to get the appropriate changes made before students need to use the building.

There is adequate room to accommodate all the students in Sicamous in the one building, although a committee looking into the K-12 option  recommended the addition of two classrooms, an additional set of washrooms and the closing in of an alcove space.

The vision was to put the kindergarten and Strong Start students in one wing with their own entrance and washrooms, and then introduce the middle and higher grades into the remainder of the “school square.”

Previously, the trustees were going to defer the consultation process until September.

“The plan will require reconstruction to the building,” says Barry Chafe, the trustee representing Sicamous. “We are still looking at a September 2017 start… Making the decision before the end of this school year will allow the community to know what path to follow and put a construction plan in place for the building to be ready.”

Chafe noted with the potential closure of Parkview Elementary, Sicamous will only have one school building left and it is important to the community and the quality of education that a K-12 school building meet the needs of all its students.

 

The school district is now attempting to set up a public meeting on the issue, but plans had not been finalized by press time.