Kelowna-company Maloney Contracting is currently constructing Port Edward's new school

Prince Rupert School District and Port Edward enter into new lease agreements for school

School District 52 met at a special open meeting where they approved funding and new lease agreements for Port Edward’s new school.

Despite the fact that it’s summer, School District 52’s Board of Education met on Wednesday to hold a special open meeting where they approved funding and lease agreements for Port Edward’s new school.

The first aspect the board went over and approved was the capital project bylaw, which means that the Ministry of Education will provide $500,000 of funding to the school district to be provided to Port Edward to help construct the new school.

“[Port Edward already has] some funding from their own borrowing towards that project and needs additional funding to ensure they could complete it. This capital bylaw will have the Ministry of Education provide funding to the district, which we will then provide to Port Edward as part of the cost of completing that school,” explained School District 52 secretary-treasurer Cam McIntyre.

The board then moved on to the lease portion of the meeting, starting off by entering into a 20-year lease with the District of Port Edward that will begin on September 1, 2012 and will end on August 31, 2032, for the new school.

The new school, which is currently being constructed on to the existing Community Centre by Maloney Contracting of Kelowna, will include three classrooms, a library and additional bathrooms. The Community Centre already has a gymnasium, which students will use in the day and the community can continue to use in the evenings. Additionally, the public will be able to use the library after school hours.

The School District will be officially closing Port Edward’s old school building located on 633 Sunset Drive on August 31. Port Edward has entered into a one-year lease with the school district for this property that will begin on September 1, 2012, and end on August 31, 2013. Port Edward did this because they want to maintain control of the old building once the school district stops using it.

“What we would like to do over time is go through the process to actually enable the building to be transferred to [the District of Port Edward]. That process is working in the background, so in the mean time we had the short term lead-in we knew we had to deal with so we entered into the one-year lease to ensure that short term lead was met while we continue to work at transferring,” clarified McIntyre.

But because the building addition that will house the new school in Port Edward will not be complete by September 1, the District of Port Edward has offered to let the school district use the previous building until the new location is ready to open. This means that the school district had to enter into a sublease that will begin on September 1, and will end whenever students move over to the new building.

“Our expectation is that it will be done prior to Christmas and that we would likely move in over the Christmas [break] and come January, students would be coming to the new school,” said McIntyre.

If Port Edward’s student population were to increase, there is some room for growth at the new school. After all, there are three full classrooms being built at the new location, with only two of the rooms expected to be used this upcoming school year.

“It could house well over 60 students, and we’ll probably be under 40,” commented McIntyre.

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