Port Edward applying for $400,000 grant for gymnasium renovations

The District of Port Edward is now applying for a $400,000 grant to renovate the community centre into a gymnasium

With the school set to close in August of next year and a referendum on a new school passed, the District of Port Edward is now applying for a $400,000 grant to renovate the community centre into a gymnasium –  a project that comes with a $576,200 price tag.

The largest part of the project is $125,000 for a new roof, which is not far off the $119,000 to extend the exterior wall of the building. The project also calls for $82,000 for a new wood sprung floor and $50,000 to upgrade the heating.

The actual renovation to the existing building comes at a cost of $516,200, but council is also looking at a new exterior play area for the school with a price of $60,000.

The money comes from a community recreation program grant announced earlier this year by the BC Government, and the District of Port Edward is applying for the maximum $400,000, leaving the district to come up with $176,200 to complete the project should their application be successful.

However, the costs associated with the renovations raised the eyebrows of councillor Knut Bjorndal.

“If we say it is about 3,000 square feet of space, we’re looking at about $178 per square foot and you can build a house for that. $50,000 for heating? $119,000 for raising the roof? Where did these numbers come from,” he questioned, to which Chief Administrative Officer Ron Bedard replied the figures came from the architect of the school and had gone through a cost analysis.

Another point of contention for councillor Bjorndal was the money the District would have to commit to the project.

“You have to pay off the remainder of the project in 10 years, so we would have to come up with about $20,000 per year to pay off our portion…That is a lot of money per year and I think we’re going to have to look at it carefully,” he said.

Council decided to go ahead with the application, and Bedard noted repayment may not start until the school is done in 2013.