Provincial Education Minister Rob Fleming is pictured during a seismic upgrade announcement for Lake Trail Middle School on May 22nd, 2018. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
COURTENAY, B.C- A Comox Valley school is going to get some major upgrades.
On Tuesday morning, the provincial government announced that Lake Trail Middle School will be the latest educational facility to get seismically upgraded, in order to protect students from the threat of earthquake damage.
Education Minister Rob Fleming was on hand at the school on Tuesday to make the announcement.
“Student safety is our number 1 priority,” said Fleming, in a government news release issued at the event.
“Everyone deserves to work, play, learn and thrive in a safe environment. 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 province is putting $26.2 million worth of funding towards the project, while the Comox Valley Board of Education is putting up $1 million. The school, which was originally built in the 1950’s. will be partially replaced, after seismic reports showed that the entire building with the exception of the gym is at risk of damage in an earthquake.
“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, in the release.
“The new and improved Lake Trail Middle school will serve families in this community for many decades to come.”
The school will continue to run as usual during construction, though the entire structure will be demolished and replaced by the end of the project.
Janice Caton, who serves as the chair of the Comox Valley Board of Education, hoped that there will be a high amount of Indigenous influence in the building design.
“As a growing school district, Lake Trail is a neighbourhood school that serves a diverse community,” said Caton, in the release.
“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.”
The new building will also include a standalone child care facility, which is planned to provide up to 60 spaces.
“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 in the release.
“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 work is expected to being in March of next year, and finish by the summer of 2021.
Plans for how the new building might look are not yet available, and the school’s capacity of 540 students will not be changing.