Monday, June 19, 2023

Advance of Housing Plan for Ninth Avenue West, puts spotlight on lack of progress for replacement of Prince Rupert Middle School

Much of the discussion from last week's public hearing towards a proposed housing development for Ninth Avenue provided for some mention of the Middle School located directly adjacent to the site.  

The night even providing for a reminder of the School District's plans that could some day,  see a new school built on the existing site.

That came by way of a statement at the Public Hearing from School Board trustee James Horne, who was representing the Board of Trustees from SD52 for the evening. 

 "We are proposing a building to be built. So in the spirit of transparency, we would like to remind everybody that we are building a school in the immediate vicinity. 

It's at least 120 feet high, that will have at least 400 students. That will have, because of that it will have traffic to get the students in and out of the school which will travel beyond where this thing is going to be built that you guys are talking about. 

 And that it will have lots of noise from the students and lots of like bells to inform the students of what's going on in the area, that's the total of my statement". -- James Horne, Board of Trustees SD52

That was about as close as we've been to an official update in years and it really didn't provide much in the way of a timeline, or indication what the new school, should it make it to the finish line, may actually look like.

With the School District set for its final public meeting for this school year tomorrow night, it could present an opportunity for trustees to provide an update; with some kind of indication when parents, students and teachers may hear more of what is to come in the way of a new facility.

There could be a window for such an update tomorrow night, with the Agenda noting of the  Secretary-Treasurer's report towards notes on 2023-23 Capital projects.

We noted of the lack of information on the topic back in September of 2022 as the District set its course forward for this past school year. 

Our notes at the time providing some history to the project including its placement as a key talking point in the provincial election of 2017 and a follow up note from MLA Jennifer Rice towards where things were at in 2019.

That makes for a lot of talking and not a lot of digging for foundations and such and through nine months of Board of Education meeting, since September as well as a fall 2022 election for the Board; not much changed by way of information from the School District view through 2022 and now into the final few days of the School Year.

As things look at the moment, while everyone talks about the impact of the proposed housing plans on the area ... 

It seems more than likely that we'll have a brand new housing project in place, long before we see any attention towards the 'new' school building that Mr. Horne was referencing last week.

The now long delayed Middle School goes back to the days of the closure of elementary schools over a decade ago and the merger of the city's two High Schools at CHSS in 2011

What could be interesting to watch for is ...  if we have another provincial election come along before we hear anything new on the prospect of any kind of progress for the Middle School.

That would surely make the topic a lively campaign issue.

More on Education can be reviewed from our archive page.

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