Four vacant Mission schools could be put up for sale.
The board of education of School District No. 75 (Mission) is looking at the potential disposal of schools and property that, according to their website, are “not required for district educational purposes, either now or in the foreseeable future.”
The four schools in question are Stave Falls Elementary (30204 Brackley Ave.), Durieu Elementary (11620 Seux Rd.), Cade Barr Elementary (33447 Dewdney Trunk Rd.) and Nicomen Island School (40071 Nicomen Island Trunk Rd.).
While the process is still in the preliminary stage, at least one community group is upset about the possibility of losing a school they had hoped would be re-opened.
“I am absolutely shocked and appalled by the recent news of the proposal to sell Stave Falls Elementary. This is Mission’s newest school and an absolutely beautiful building,” wrote Stave Falls resident Courtney Cardy in an email she sent to the media, MLAs and council.
Cardy and a large group of local residents are hoping the District of Mission will step in and purchase the property from the school board.
The group’s plan is to turn the site into a community centre, if it can’t be a school.
Cardy, who attended a tour of the property on Wednesday, said the community centre idea is a way to at least keep the building and property in the public domain.
“But we need a school. Everybody knows we need a school.”
Phil Cooper, who calls himself a Stave Falls neighbourhood advocate, believes the property is “a tremendous asset.”
He is planning to speak before council on Monday (April 4) regarding the future of the property.
Wayne Jefferson, the school district’s secretary treasurer, said the proposed sale of the four schools is in the preliminary stage. The school district is currently asking for expressions of interest.
“The board has not made a final decision and neither has the government,” said Jefferson.
Most of the schools in question have been closed for several years and are sitting unused.
“Right now we have low enrolment – no enrolment really – in the area and we looked into the future, the next 10 years, and saw no growth,” he said.
If the properties were sold, the money would go back to the school district and be held in reserve for future capital projects.
All comments and expressions of interest will be summarized and presented to the school board on May 3.
After that, the board may apply to the minister of education for disposal of any or all of the four properties.