FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – School District #60 is optimistic that it will be getting provincial funding in the near future to start construction on a new elementary school on the City’s northeast side, and will be hiring a contractor to manage the school’s construction in the coming weeks.
Peace River North School District Superintendent Dave Sloan said that the school district is going to be hiring a construction management firm in order to have its next project “ready out of the box” if and/or when the Ministry of Education announces that it will be funding the school’s construction. Sloan acknowledged that though the District’s preparations might be premature, District staff is optimistic that a funding announcement will be forthcoming.
“There’s pent-up need in the community, and we’ve been demonstrating that need to the Ministry. The new Minister and the new government have been quite receptive to communities that are in need of additional schools, and we think we have a very good case.”
Sloan said that the window of opportunity is smaller than in other areas of B.C., since construction season tends to be much shorter than in Southern communities. He said that the School District is being pre-emptively ready in order to be in a better position to start construction than it was when the Province announced funding for the new Margaret ‘Ma’ Murray School. That school was originally scheduled to open in Winter 2017, but because of delays students won’t begin learning inside the school until this fall.
“It’s way better to be too ready than to be surprised. With ‘Ma’ Murray, it was the same sort of process: get your ducks in a row and then hurry up and wait. When the announcement came, we weren’t as ready as we could have been. So, if and when we get another school, we want to make sure the timelines are tight from when the project is approved and when we open it.”