Nanaimo school board committee recommends re-opening Cedar secondary school

NANAIMO - A recommendation has been proposed to re-open the school in Cedar as a high school.

The Nanaimo school district business committee is recommending that the school in Cedar be re-opened as a Grade 8-12 high school in time for 2016.

The facility was being converted to an elementary school, but work was delayed to allow for a review of the district’s 10-year facilities plan, which the conversion was part of.

Trustee Natasha Bob proposed the recommendation at the committee meeting Wednesday night. Jamie Brennan, Bill Robinson and Tania Brzovic voted against the motion.

“It turns the clock backwards and it’s going to be very costly, as I said [Wednesday] night, it adds secondary capacity to our already over capacity system,” said Brennan. “It’s really a retrograde step.”

Brennan also disagreed with the timing, given the results of the facilities plan review were made public earlier during the meeting.

“Before there was any opportunity to discuss the results and to get any staff assessment of the results, they moved to re-open the school,” Brennan said.

Steve Rae, school board chairman, said trustees had time to review the facilities plan report, as they had received it a week earlier and were at consultation meetings.

“We all attended all the roundtables, we attended all the stakeholder meetings, we attended all the presentations. This isn’t information that was just dropped on us yesterday,” Rae said.

Cost hasn’t been determined yet, according to Rae, as staff will make a recommendation on how work should be finished.

“There’s not a lot of work done to the inside of the building luckily, and that is the reason why we moved so quickly, because we wanted to move before we started spending a lot of money in that building to see if that was the way we were going to go …

“So until we determine what it is we want, we have no idea what the cost will be,” said Rae.

He denied the suggestion, made by other trustees, that the decision to re-open the school was pre-determined.

“That is completely not true. We all went into this with an open mind. We did and that’s the reality of it,” Rae said.

Trustees are expected to vote on the recommendation at their April 22 board meeting.