Plans to tear down Trafalgar Middle School are being reconsidered by School District 8.
Michael McLellan, the district’s secretary-treasurer and chief financial officer, told the Star the previous facilities plan in 2016 calling for Trafalgar’s closure and replacement with a new South Nelson Elementary is under review because the district is not sure it will obtain capital funding from the Ministry of Education.
“The premise for the Trafalgar school being torn down and replaced by a new South Nelson was predicated on the belief that when that earlier facilities plan was done there would be replacement funding under a different envelope of funding. It doesn’t look like to be available right now,” said McLellan.
“We might be looking at alternative plans for Trafalgar like renovating it or other things, and of course we want public input on that process as well for what might be done instead of tearing it down and rebuilding it.”
The first round of public consultation earlier this year was aimed at finding solutions for the aging schools, with more public meetings planned for the summer as part of the district’s 2019-29 facilities plan.
Trafalgar, which opened in 1928, was originally scheduled for closure by June 2017. All Nelson elementary schools were to be converted to carry kindergarten to Grade 7, and L.V. Rogers would be changed to include Grades 8 to 12. Salmo Elementary was also set to close and fold into Salmo Secondary.
The district has, however, been given the green light by the ministry to develop plans for a possible expansion to Blewett Elementary.
McLelland said Blewett is at 147 per cent capacity, and internal projections show the school’s catchment’s population will continue to grow. He cautioned, however, that the expansion, as it was with the facilities plan, is not a given without provincial funding.
“There’s no guarantee, but it’s the next step and a very important step toward ultimately getting ministry approval for the project.”
Meanwhile, the district announced Monday that it had received $2.4 million in provincial funding. The money will be used to upgrade windows and doors at Hume Elementary, upgrade a dust collector at LVR and renovate floors at various schools.
SD8 is also receiving seven new buses as part of a $13 million provincial funding plan that is adding 81 new buses across B.C.