Crews are on the site of the old King Edward School in Prince Rupert, as work to demolish the building gets underway.
The school, which borders the 400 block of 7th and 8th Avenue East, shut its doors in 2001 and has been boarded up since. After years of sitting empty, the province sold the school to the Metlakatla First Nation. According to Metlakatla Chief Harold Leighton, initial plans for the site did not call for the building to be torn down.
“The previously plans we had were based on using the existing facility. The plans were for a training centre and an elders centre,” he explained.
“We did a study of the building and the life of it and that brought us to the pilings holding the structure up. It is held up by many pilings, so we tested the pilings to see if we could get an extended life out of them, but unfortunately the pilings were deteriorated to a point where it didn’t make sense to try to salvage any of them,” he said.
With the building itself no longer being left on the site, Leighton said the Band is in the midst of determining the best use for the lot.
“Because of the cost of the demolition, we need to look at something more viable that may recover the costs over time. We’re looking at different options, residential or commercial, but we will still move forward with the original plans for it if it is feasible,” he said.
“But once you remove the pilings you have to replace them with something, so the cost is going to be pretty high to develop that property. We’ve invested a fair amount in it already, so it is still worth pursuing the development.”