Two former Mission schools are up for sale.
During the last board meeting, it was announced that the Mission Public School District will be asking for purchase offers on both Nicomen Island and Cade Barr schools. Both facilities have been closed for some time. The fate of two other schools – Stave Falls and Durieu – remains undecided.
The board has directed staff to gather more information on Stave Falls and Durieu to propose other uses. Staff will meet with the District of Mission and the Fraser Valley Regional District regarding potential community use of the two properties.
Mission superintendent of schools Angus Wilson said in the case of Stave Falls, staff are “looking at a number of possibilities” that have been suggested.
“I don’t think that’s a school that is going to find itself up for sale in the foreseeable future,” said Wilson, adding “the potential exists in the future for that school to reopen.”
A local group called the Stave Falls Community Association has been trying to convince the school district to either reopen the school or turn it into a community centre ever since it was announced, last year, that the school could be sold.
Wilson said he has met with the group.
While no decisions have been made, Wilson offered several options, including reopening the school, making it a community centre or running it as a hybrid – half the building as a school and half as a community centre.
He even wants to explore if the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows district would consider operating it, although he calls that “way-out-there speculations.”
While he doesn’t have exact figures, he said approximately 60 students in the Stave Falls area are attending schools in Maple Ridge.
Wilson also wants to know if there is a local community group that can run the former Durieu school.
No such efforts will be made regarding Nicomen Island and Cade Barr schools.
“Effectively, those two schools are up for sale, but unless we get a decent offer we probably wouldn’t sell them,” said Wilson.
Wilson said there is no need to hold onto either property. If there was a large population growth in either area, it could be accommodated at other nearby schools.
“The cost of retro-fitting them to become modern, contemporary school facilities is more than just starting over again.”
The school district will need the approval of the Ministry of Education prior to finalizing either sale, but Wilson does not foresee any problems.
It is expected to take between three and six months to complete the sale process.
Money from the sale would remain with the Mission Public School District but could only be used for capital projects – repairing other schools or building new schools – and not for supplies or salaries.