SD5 gets capital funding

Province doles out roughly $1 million for upgrades and maintenance to local schools.

Five schools in Cranbrook will benefit from nearly $1 million in funding from the provincial government to upgrade facilities and reduce energy consumption.

Laurie Middle School, Mount Baker Secondary School, Amy Woodlands Elementary School, and Steeples Elementary School and Pinewood Elementary School will all be getting some kind of upgrades, which is an additional funding supplement to annual capital dollars from the province.

Every year, SD5 gets roughly $1.3 million dollars for an Annual Facilities Grant which goes towards building maintenance and upgrades, however, there was another province-wide infusion of $20 million, which is where the new dollars are coming from, according to Rob Norum, the SD5 Secretary-Treasurer.

The smaller projects, such as the ones in the elementary schools, shouldn’t take too long to complete, but the LMS and MBSS projects need to go out for bids.

“We’re hoping to get everything done by the end of March, but I think some of the bigger jobs are obviously going to go past that and near the end of June before some of those bigger jobs are done,” Norum added.

Projects include:

•Laurie Middle School: Replace engineered rooftop air handling unit and repair roof. Cost: $434,900. A new unit will improve air quality and efficiency. Improvements will improve the quality of airflow and circulation within the school as well as the efficiency of the system.

•Mount Baker Secondary: Acquisition of two heating water boilers and circulatory pumps. Cost: $368,000. New boilers will be more efficient and replace eight boiler modules with two. Improvements will improve the efficiency of the system.

•Pinewood Elementary/Amy Woodland Elementary/Steeples Elementary: Gas-fired air handling, furnace, heat pumps. Cost: $143,750. Pinewood: replace two rooftop air-handling units that serve the existing gymnasium. These units are 15 years old and are at the end of their service life. Amy Woodland: replace five units that are 24 years old and are beyond their service life. Steeples: replace two existing rooftop gas-fired heat pumps that serve corner classrooms. These units are 23 years old and are beyond their expected service life.

“These capital upgrades will make our schools more comfortable and efficient,” Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett said. “It’s great news for Cranbrook that our government is spending close to $1 million to make these improvements that will extend the life of these schools.”

Every year, boards of education submit plans to the Ministry of Education that include details on school building priorities in their school district, and the B.C. government allocates an overall capital budget for schools across the province.