Friday, October 12, 2012

School District 52 seeks replacement for Prince Rupert Middle School

With the merger of Charles Hays Secondary and Prince Rupert Secondary schools well into its second year, the School District is turning it's attention towards securing a new building for the Prince Rupert Middle School.

The Middle School which was created when the two Secondary schools were combined last year, has been using the old PRSS building for the last year, making for some required "work arounds" for the many challenges that the building had provided for,  challenges that existed well before the  recent changes in focus to the Educational plan of the District.

Having put their ducks in a row so to speak, by creating the merged Secondary schools at the newer CHSS building, School District 52 is now approaching the Ministry of Education to replace the aging structure that the Middle School now calls home.

As part of the review of the October 9th Board Meeting, Board Chair Tina Last outlined the School District's only request in the  current Capital Budget, that  of the need for a replacement building for Prince Rupert Middle School.

Her comments, as relayed in the School District's Media Release puts the current status of the Middle School into perspective and should help further the goal of a new building.

"PRMS is an aging building with most systems nearing the end of their useful life".. "We will continue to ask the Ministry to consider this project a priority, so that the expensive repair of these systems can be avoided and our students can learn in a new, environmentally friendly and purpose-designed building."

The anticipated cost of a new Middle School is projected to be around $22,000.000. Word on its fate most likely won't be received until 2013.

Another note of interest from the October 9th meeting was the release of enrolment numbers for School District 52, which show a continual decline in the numbers of students that are enrolled at the elementary and secondary level in the city.

As of September 30th, there were 2,161 students enrolled in the School District 52 region, a decline of 69 students from last years enrolment report. That total enrolment includes 145 students that are enrolled at the kindergarten level.  According to the School District, the decrease in students however has not resulted in any changes to staffing levels, where levels have been maintained with respect to the District's regular budget .

Use of the District's Learning Improvement Fund actually provided funding for the hiring of an additional 6 full time equivalent teaching positions to support student learning. This is the first year of operation for the Learning improvement fund.

The Tuesday meeting of the School District also provided word that the Board of Education will travel to Port Edward on Tuesday, October 23rd, where a formal signing of the Agreement to Lease a new school space in that community will take place.

That signing brings to an end 2 years of co-operation between the School District and the District of Port Edward, designed to ensure that Port Edward residents continue to have access to education and a community school within the District.

The Northern View-- School District 52 asks to replace Prince Rupert Middle School in capital budget

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