|SD43's plan for 5 schools at 4 sites on Burke Mountain|
And so, with the help of School District 43 (from whose staff I confirmed this information), we can say that there are plans for five schools to be built on four sites. (Please see adjoining map and timeline chart for more detail.)
1. First would be the "Smiling Creek" elementary school, the funding approval (from Victoria) for which is being eagerly awaited by the SD (and everyone else, for that matter). If all goes well, the school will open in the autumn of 2018. More on this later.
|Latest timeline projections from SD43.|
3. Next would be the "Northeast" middle school, to be constructed on part of the long-established high-school site in the Lower Hyde Creek neighbourhood. It could open in 2023-'24.
4. Following close on the middle school's heels would be the "Burke Mountain" secondary school, in the 2024-'25 time period.
5. Finally, we have the "Marigold Street" elementary school, on the far eastern side of Burke Mountain. It's pencilled in for opening in the 2025-'26 period.
There may be a need for another elementary school, in the Riverwalk area, but that decision-making process has to wait until after the current city-run Northwest Burke visioning exercise is complete.
No official names for any of the proposed schools have been selected.
As for the Smiling Creek school, SD43's Judy Shirra, chair of the board of education, released a letter on Nov. 6 saying the school "continues to be the top priority for this Board on our Five Year Capital Plan recently submitted to government."
Shirra explains, "In anticipation of a funding announcement from the Government of BC, a great deal of work has already been done by the district to prepare for the start of construction. Our staff continue to have numerous conversations with the Ministry of Education regarding this matter, as recently as today, and continue to speak with them on a regular basis with a positive outcome expected soon.
"In support of our commitment, SD43's Board has already invested significant funds upfront to keep the project moving forward to enable us to build and open the school as soon as possible. The school district continues the planning and preparation process including school site preparation, architecture work and other important tasks. Although we have not yet received funding from the Government of BC, no delays have been caused to date."
She also noted that Council recently passed OCP and zoning amendments for the site (which is jointly owned by the SD and the City), and that the district is "prepared to apply for a building permit at the start of December pending provincial funding approval."
So there you have it!