Seismic upgrades are coming to Cilaire and Pleasant Valley elementary schools in Nanaimo after the provincial government announces $18.8 million in funding.
“Parents deserve the comfort of knowing their children will be protected at school if an earthquake were to impact Vancouver Island,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “That’s why we’re moving at record speed to upgrade schools in Nanaimo and throughout B.C, continuing our work to ensure every student can attend a seismically safe school.”
The investment will create 500 seismically safe seats for Nanaimo students, as well as cover the cost of renovating Rutherford Elementary school and Woodlands Secondary school to be used as temporary accommodations for students to speed up seismic projects in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District
“This announcement is great news for Pleasant Valley as the project has been discussed for a number of years. It is comforting to know that our children will be learning in buildings that should keep them safe in the event of an earthquake,” said Karen Delves, a parent of a student going to Pleasant Valley Elementary School.
Construction is set to start in June of 2021, to be completed in time for the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
In addition, construction will soon be underway on a $15.9-million addition at Hammond Bay Elementary school to add 295 more seats to the district.
READ MORE: Over 800 laptops, tablets to be given to Vancouver Island Indigenous students
This is the latest seismic upgrading project in B.C., which has approved over $1.9 billion for 94 major school capital investments, creating over 25,500 seismically safe seats and 12,390 new seats at new and expanded schools throughout B.C. since September of 2017.
“Our government is investing in people and upgrading schools so students are safe,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “I’m thankful that soon, 500 more students will attend seismically safe schools in our community.”
The seismic upgrades will upgrade the entirety of both schools and are examples of the governments work to speed up the Seismic Mitigation Program to provide students with earthquake-safe spaces as soon as possible.
“The safety and well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority,” said Charlene McKay, chair, Nanaimo Ladysmith board of education. “The district’s capital project submission placed these two schools at the top of the list for seismic mitigation.”
To help speed up the project and ensure students are disrupted as little as possible, Pleasant Valley students will attend Rutherford, while Cilaire students will attend Woodlands school during construction. The Ministry of Education says Transportation will be provided for students to and from their schools.
The province says it hopes to continue this momentum, as Budget 2020 includes a record $2.8 billion for new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and land purchases for future schools that will improve learning environments for B.C. students.