Middle school students in Courtenay can look forward to a modern, seismically safer school, Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, has announced.
“Student safety is our number 1 priority. Everyone deserves to work, play, learn and thrive in a safe environment,” said Fleming. “Our government is committed to accelerating seismic upgrades, and I’m so pleased that students in Courtenay will soon be learning in a seismically sound school.
The project is a partial replacement that will ensure the entire school will be seismically safer. Lake Trail Middle school was built in the 1950s, with significant additions in 1964 and 1999. Seismic reports indicate everything but the gymnasium is at risk of damage after a seismic event.
“I have heard first-hand from parents and educators in our community that this a top priority, and I’m thrilled our government is working hard to make this project a reality. I can’t wait to see students thriving in their upgraded, safer school,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “The new and improved Lake Trail Middle school will serve families in this community for many decades to come.”
“The board of education is pleased that the Ministry of Education is honouring its commitment in ensuring that our schools are a safe place for our children to learn by providing the funding to seismically update Lake Trail,” said Janice Caton, chair, Comox Valley Board of Education. “As a growing school district, Lake Trail is a neighbourhood school that serves a diverse community, and this seismic update will provide a safe, modern learning environment for our students, and also support the district's long-range facilities plan as we continue to grow.”
School operations will continue as usual during construction. Once the project is complete, the existing school, except for the gym, will be demolished.
“We are excited about and appreciative of this seismic upgrade and school partial replacement for Lake Trail Middle school,” said Dean Lindquist, superintendent, Comox Valley School District. “The board of education and senior leadership thank the Government of British Columbia, and specifically the Ministry of Education, for this capital investment that will ensure Lake Trail Middle school meets current architectural standards and, when complete, will support 21st-century learning for our students.”
The project will include a new standalone child care facility valued at $1.5 million, which will provide up to 60 child care spaces. This supports the creation of needed child care space and government’s Childcare BC initiative.
“We are finding innovative ways to create new child care spaces as we work to bring affordable, quality child care to B.C. families,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Locating child care on school grounds is great for communities. It offers more convenience for parents, and helps kids get used to a school setting before they begin kindergarten.”
The partial replacement of Lake Trail Middle school is expected to start in March 2019, and be complete in summer 2021.
Government is addressing the backlog of seismic and capital projects throughout B.C. to ensure students have safer learning environments. This includes encouraging collaboration between the Ministry of Education, school districts and local governments to meet ambitious timelines and reduce the time it takes to complete projects. Government is also working to cut wait times for school construction by accelerating the funding approval process.
The Ministry of Education is providing up to $26.2 million toward the project. The Comox Valley Board of Education is contributing $1 million.
Since September 2017, government has approved over $256 million in capital funding to upgrade or replace 17 seismic high-risk schools.
- Budget 2018 invests a record $2 billion in school capital projects over the next three years.
- Lake Trail Middle school accommodates students in grades 6 to 9, and has an operating capacity of 540.