Monday, June 15, 2015

School District seismic review could deliver new middle school to the City

At last weeks School District 52 Board of Education meeting, SD52 trustees heard some background on the seismic rating of the Prince Rupert Middle School and how it could shape the future for the building in the near future.

School Board officials outlined the recent changes made to a report on the seismic assessment for the building, noting that the most recent report will record that the school should be classified with a high seismic risk.

And while there are no guarantees, the delivery of that new seismic study to be presented to the Ministry of Education could start the ball rolling towards replacement of the aging building on Ninth Avenue West that has served the community through the last half century.

That has been a long range goal of School District 52 ever since it decided to merge the city's two high schools at Charles Hays and create the Middle School program.

The idea of a new structure for the Middle school first popped up on the School District radar in 2012, when the Board of Education first outlined the request as part of the Capital budget of that year.

The theme continued into 2013 when the School District assigned the replacement program as its top Budget priority for 2013-14, seemingly gaining the ear of the Ministry at the time.

Prince Rupert Middle School could be included in the Ministry of Education
Capital Planning owing to an increased seismic rating for the school

Part of the process of achieving an upgrade to the existing building, or the preferred goal of a new school for the community, has involved the review of the seismic assessment rating for the existing building.

That was requested by the School District  a few years ago now, after they had challenged the findings of a 2010 report that had lowered the seismic risk from high to medium/low, with the School District asking for the Ministry to reconsider its findings of the time.

With the reassessment of that rating complete and the new information listing the school as a high seismic risk now established, the prospects of a positive response from the Ministry of Education on the status of the school would seem to be closer.

The next step for the School District is to update their Seismic Project Identification Report related to Prince Rupert Middle School and submit it to the Ministry for further review.

Once received the Ministry of Education will make the decision wether to include a PRMS upgrade or replacement, as part of the Ministry's capital planning.

You can review the School District notes on the seismic assessment from their information release from the June 9th School District meeting.

For more items related to Education on the North Coast see our archive page here.

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