A $353 million capital plan announced by the province today doesn’t include any money to rebuild Nelson’s Trafalgar Middle School — or any other school in the Kootenays.
Kootenay Lake school board chair Mel Joy says trustees are “extremely frustrated” the district’s number one priority was overlooked.
“The Ministry is focused on this rollout for districts seen as growing,” she says. “The Ministry needs to recognize there are some serious issues for schools that students are already in.”
Joy said she didn’t know an announcement on capital improvements was imminent.
The plan for Trafalgar, submitted over two years ago, called for a rebuilt school to meet LEED gold standards.
A revamped Trafalgar would also result in the closure of South Nelson elementary. Both schools have scored poorly on facility evaluations, indicating major work is required to bring them up to par.
Trustees lobbied then-education minister Margaret McDiarmid on the Trafalgar project when she visited the area last year. The City of Nelson has also been pushing for the project to get the green light.
“We’ve been advocating every time we get a chance that we have to have that rebuild,” Joy says. “We just have to wait until the Ministry says yes.”
The projects named today include six new elementary schools, one new middle school, two new secondary schools, four additions, and six school site purchases.
Eight projects have been approved for Surrey — the fastest growing school district in the province — two for Langley, two for Central Okanagan, three for Sooke, and one each in Richmond and Vancouver.
Joy says it’s discouraging more rural areas did not figure in today’s announcement.
“We do feel that’s unfair. We are at their whim in this circumstance,” she says.
Joy adds that since the district submitted Trafalgar as its highest-priority project, there hasn’t been much feedback.
“We’re simply waiting. We have been actively trying to get that rebuild in the Ministry’s focus, but it’s being unheard.”
Joy expects the board to discuss a response at their regular meeting Tuesday.
Trafalgar was built in 1920 and has had several additions since.