While there were no big ticket announcements, School District 71 did receive funding for some capital projects on its to-do list.
School districts submit annual capital projects to the Ministry of Education and Child Care every year, and in the Comox Valley the main work for the coming year focuses on three district buildings.
“We did not receive approval to go ahead with a major capital project,” secretary-treasurer Brenda Hooker told school trustees. “We were excited to receive funding for three HVAC and roofing upgrades.”
The HVAC and roof upgrades include the roofing project at Isfeld Secondary for $800,000 under the Carbon Neutral Capital Program. As well, the ministry is funding HVAC upgrades at Glacier View for its first phase, worth $550,000, and at Tsolum for $496,320. The funding will cover the tendering, design and construction costs for the projects.
In March, the province announced funding of $240.5 million to improve schools through better ventilation, reduced emissions and increased accessibility.
“Investments in schools are investments in student success,” Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside said in a news release. “That’s why our government continues to deliver on our commitment to support school districts in upgrading and maintaining their schools to ensure students are learning in safe, healthy environments.”
The capital projects item was added to the board of education agenda for the April board meeting as a late item following the province’s announcement.
“We received that just after the last board meeting,” Hooker told the trustees.
The projects are to be completed by March 31, 2023.
The trustees unanimously agreed to hold the third and final bylaw reading at the same board meeting as the first two readings.
The trustees’ adoption of the bylaw now permits the district to draw on funding to begin work on the projects.
Later in the meeting, director of operations Ian Heselgrave outlined a list of mid-sized capital projects coming up for the district. The board approved the work on the list, which includes more roof and HVAC work, mechanical and electrical work, carpentry, flooring, field drainage and other site work at several school buildings.
“It’s a key part of our annual maintenance program. It’s targeted funding that is there to preserve and maintain the facilities,” he said. “I think we have a good plan going into the spring, summer and fall.”