Superintendent of schools Peter Jory presents the Salmon Arm zone options in School District 83’s long-term facilities plan at Ranchero Elementary on Tuesday, Feb. 4. (Cameron Thomson - Salmon Arm Observer)

Two Grade 7-9 middle schools among options considered for Salmon Arm and area

Portables a likelihood as School District #83 works to address facility needs

More portable classrooms may be inevitable at Salmon Arm schools, at least in the short term as School District 83 juggles the education needs of a growing student population.

A public information session at Ranchero Elementary on Tuesday, Feb. 4, gave parents, teachers and district board members the chance to learn of grade layout options for Salmon Arm and area schools in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District’s long-range facilities plan.

If accepted by the Ministry of Education, the plan could lead to substantial capital funding for large scale upgrades, wing additions to schools as well as new schools.

Read more: School district facing capacity challenges

Read more: Dog bite incident, rumours prompt animal policy review for North Okanagan-Shuswap schools

The 10-year facilities plan is currently in its consultation phase which runs from January to February with further design conversations from April to May. Ideally, the district will submit the plan to the ministry on June 30 along with its five-year capital plan.

Superintendent of schools Peter Jory led the Feb. 4 presentation, going over various graphs showing areas in the school district with imminent overflows of students, as well as schools operating at comfortable capacities. Jory explained grade layout options developed by a contractor commissioned to work on the plan by the district.

There are four options proposed for the Salmon Arm zone, each with modifications to the current layout and subject to change.

Option 1 is relatively status quo, except for a reverting South Canoe to kindergarten to Grade 5 and sending Grade 6 and 7 students to Shuswap Middle School.

Option 2 looks at changing Salmon Arm elementary schools to kindergarten to Grade 6 and making the middle school and both Salmon Arm Secondary campuses grades 7 to 12. Grade changes would be considered for kindergarten to Grade 8 elementary-middle feeder schools.

Option 3 involves making the middle school kindergarten to Grade 7, the SAS campuses would be grades 8 to 12.

Option 4 would make the middle school grades 7 to 9. The Jackson campus would also become a Grade 7 to 9 middle school, the Sullivan campus grades 10 to 12 and elementary schools kindergarten to Grade 6.

“It is important to know that information that comes to the trustees through this process, if it makes sense and if it has real potential, it’s going to get included in the final choices,” Jory said. “You’re not going to be constrained to just what we were thinking about three months ago. It’s always moving.”

Charts displaying timelines for each of the suggested options were shown during the session, each with their own challenges.

“None of those options give us enough space in the Salmon Arm area on their own,” Jory continued. “All of them require some kind of additional space.”

“Hopefully, we would get in line for significant capital dollars, be able to maybe add space, renovate; a new building would be amazing. Until we get to that point though we are going to be dealing with portables.”

Read more: Student enrolment for 2019/20 exceeds School District #83 projections

Read more: Alternative to closure considered for Parkview Elementary

Portable classrooms were deemed a likely, temporary solution to be implemented in the event of student overflow or displacement caused by construction. Portables cost between $150,000 and $250,000 each.

Jory went on to say that if the district gets approved for the kind of spending they are after, it will be at least five to six years until shovels are in the ground and the buildings are usable.

Some teachers came to the meeting armed with studies backing up concerns over the number of transitions students experience when moving from elementary to middle to high schools. Later in the same meeting, a show of hands appeared to indicate the majority of parents, teachers and board members were in favour of keeping as many kindergarten to Grade 8 schools as possible.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

#Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Fuel Good Day pumps up Okanagan-Shuswap organizations

Thousands raised by annual Armstrong Regional Co-op fundraiser Sept. 15

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

Primary Care Networks coming for Okanagan Nation Alliance communities

New partnerships will provide Syilx members with better, culturally-safe primary care

Okanagan rental housing market facing challenges due to COVID-19

The impact on real estate markets remains a wildcard

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Public input sharpens vision of Oyama Ithmus Park

Proposed project to shape the long-term future of waterfront land in Lake Country

COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna church service

Attendees of Calvary Chapel Kelowna’s Sept. 13 morning service may have been exposed

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Supreme Court civil claim alleges Dustin Blondin was the victim of an ‘unprovoked attack’

PHOTOS: Ghost sighting in Vernon’s Polson Park

Mom and daughter photoshoot brings joy and laughter to bystanders

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Parks Canada not responsible for Mount Kobau blockade

Nearby residents have been vocal about plans to turn the area into a national park

Most Read