More busing and warmer and cooler schools are coming to Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools students after a $1.16 million funding announcement from the B.C. government.
The Ministry of Education announced that Nanaimo school district would receive the money Wednesday, with School Enhancement Program money paying for boiler upgrades at Cinnabar Valley Elementary and heating, ventilation and air conditioning at Park Avenue Elementary. Bus Acquisition Program money will allow for the purchase a school bus.
Pete Sabo, school district director of operations and planning, said the projects have already been approved by the school board and Wednesday’s announcement represented ministry approval, meaning staff can proceed.
Sabo said the new bus will succeed a spare that is being used as a replacement after another bus suffered an “systemic engine failure,” three years from being retired. He estimates a new bus will cost $138,000.
“The project approval understands that it takes a while to order and have buses delivered, so they do have a timeline,” said Sabo. “I’m not sure of the exact date that they’ll give us, but there is typically a funding deadline date that they expect us to have the bus purchased by. I believe it takes approximately nine months.”
Sabo said the Cinnabar Valley boilers had been in the district’s plans for a number of years, but it wasn’t able to secure funding. After the system broke, it had to do an emergency upgrade last year, where two boilers were replaced with “three new higher-efficiency boilers,” and the district will complete the job with the money.
“We did an emergent phase to make sure the school had heat and now the second phase we’re going to complete with this funding,” Said Sabo. “So the district worked with the ministry to temporarily fund it, while we awaited this approval, so now this approval will allow us to do the final phase and complete the project. It includes some re-piping in the school and [improved computer controls].”
As for the work at Park Avenue, Sabo said the district will do two phases of work at once this summer.
“We’re actually replacing the boilers and the air-handling units, so the furnaces if you will,” said Sabo.
Sabo said the district hasn’t determined how it will proceed with the boiler upgrade. The bus will be purchased through the ministry and a request for proposals will be made for the HVAC project, he said.