Winlaw rebuild tops list of Slocan Valley school options

Rebuilding Winlaw elementary school is the highest ranking scenario among Slocan Valley schools.

Several scenarios presented at a public meeting Wednesday would result in the closure or reconfiguration of W.E. Graham school in Slocan

Rebuilding Winlaw elementary school is the highest ranking scenario among Slocan Valley schools as identified by a process looking at reconfiguration options in the Kootenay Lake district.

Thirteen scored scenarios were presented at a public meeting Wednesday night at Mount Sentinel, six of which involved closing W.E. Graham school in Slocan.

Second highest on the list was renovating Winlaw school, a K-6 built in the 1970s that is operating above capacity. However, secretary-treasurer Kim Morris cautioned that although the rebuild/renovate options scored well in the exercise, that doesn’t necessarily mean the district can count on provincial government funding.

The third option was closing Winlaw and moving students to W.E. Graham, while the fourth through seventh options all involved closing W.E. Graham and moving students to some combination of Winlaw, Brent Kennedy, and Mount Sentinel.

Option eight would add a portable at Winlaw, option nine is the status quo, and option ten would convert Winlaw to a K-3 and W.E. Graham to a 4-6. Presently the latter is K-10.

In 2011, the board rejected a proposal to turn Winlaw into a K-3 and W.E. Graham into a 4-10.

During the presentation, district staff outlined the complex scoring process they used to arrive at the rankings, which evaluated 50 proposed scenarios using 16 criteria, including a variety of economic, educational, operational, and strategic factors. While the exercise seeks more efficient use of space, it also considers the impact on students.

The results have been presented over the last week in a series of public meetings for each “family of schools” Nelson, Creston, Kaslo, Salmo, and the Slocan Valley.

Morris said their task now is to take public feedback and come up with an overall plan. She said it’s unlikely they will simply choose the top-ranked option in each family of schools, especially if it means tying the district’s future to funding to build several new schools or major renovations.

Although some changes could take effect by September, it’s more likely whatever plan the board ultimately adopts will be phased in over several years.

Morris said the district has lost 2,000 students since 1996-97 and has about 1,750 empty classroom seats. It also has $83 million in looming capital works or deferred maintenance.

About 35 people attended Wednesday’s meeting. Slocan Valley trustee Sharon Nazaroff said she was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s great to hear all the questions and feedback,” she said. “I feel our staff is prepared to be open and listen. What we’re presenting is data. It’s impartial, not emotional.”

The complete scoring results of the various scenarios and the methodology used to arrive at them will be available Friday afternoon on the district’s website, sd8.bc.ca.

Feedback is being gathered until March 28, by which time a draft plan is expected to be ready for further public presentations. A second round of input will then be collected until April 30.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: L.V. Rogers sends off its grad class

Check out our pictures of the festivities

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

COLUMN: 1919 – Police chief reminds drivers of streetcar etiquette

Greg Scott takes us back to a century ago in the files of the Nelson Daily News

Nelson archers host meet

The Nelson Rod and Gun Club hosted 78 archers

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read