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Report calls for building improvements in Vernon schools

BX Elementary School is one of the facilities pegged for upgrades.
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June 25, 2016 - 4:30 PM

VERNON - A number of the Vernon School District’s facilities, including the board office, are in poor shape.

That’s according to a long-term facilities plan prepared by the consulting firm Thinkspace Architecure Planning Interior Design to help the district identify where work is needed.

Trustees on the School District 22 Board of Education accepted the report’s 13 recommendations earlier this week for consultation and review. The recommendations include looking at millions of dollars in work for local schools, but that’s not a big surprise, board chair Kelly Smith says.

“We knew some of our schools needed work done. BX Elementary has five portables. It’s had that for a long time. That’s just not acceptable, it shouldn’t be a permanent fixture at a school,” she says.

One of the recommendations is to look at Charles Bloom Elementary School in Lumby.

“It’s been on the radar for quite a while,” Smith says. “We’ll consult with the community, it will be what they decide. Should it be a new building? Should it be a renovation?”

Other schools identified as needing work are Silver Star Elementary and Alexis Park Elementary.

Now that the report is complete, Smith says the district will be turning to the provincial government for funding to help with the upgrades.

“We had to get this done in order to ask for funds. They would just turn us away if we didn’t have it,” she says.

The last time a long-term facilities report was done was roughly ten years ago, and ultimately led to Vernon Secondary School and Coldstream Elementary being replaced.

The report also pinpointed the board office as being in poor shape.

“Every time there has been talk about the board office, we’ve said ‘no, it has to go into schools.’ It’s never gone beyond that conversation for us,” Smith says, adding they’ll be writing to the province to inquire about funding for service facilities.

Public consultation meetings will be arranged sometime after Sept. 28, when the board holds its first meeting of the new school year.

“There is much work to be done. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work,” Smith says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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