The board of education will begin a permanent school closure process for Wildwood School, School District 27 announced Wednesday.
On April 12 of this year, Wildwood Elementary School was temporarily closed due to flooding and mould issues.
A week later it began operating as a “school within a school” out of Marie Sharpe Elementary in Williams Lake.
During a closed meeting held Tuesday, May 26 in 100 Mile House, the board learned the cost to restore the Wildwood facility to a safe and healthy environment would be a minimum of $550,000 and could, quite conceivably, surpass $2,000,000.
In a report to the board, Secretary Treasurer, Kevin Futcher noted the issue is trying to identify where the water is coming from and how it can be stopped or diverted.
“The next step would then be to confirm the integrity of the facility – footings, foundation wall / floor slab interface, etc. The final step would be the actual remediation and upgrades to mechanical and ventilation systems. This would not be a quick process and it will be a costly one,” Futcher stated in his report.
Repairs of this magnitude would require Ministry of Education approval and funding. Initial discussions with the Ministry have occurred.
“Given the extent of the proposed remediation, the board passed a motion to begin the permanent school closure consultation process in accordance with Policy 1711 Opening, Closing of Schools and School Consolidation,” the School District noted in a press release. “Due to the emergent situation, the board waived its normal requirement of a 90-day public consultation process and will condense the process to conclude by its next open meeting on June 23, 2015.”
The board also passed a motion that, if the school is permanently closed, it would be recommended students from the Wildwood catchment area become part of Marie Sharpe Elementary School.
The Board further proposed that consideration be given for those families who wish to engage the School of Choice process and enrol in another school as per Policy 5117 Schools of Choice.
“This was a very difficult decision to make and that was not made lightly,” board chair Tanya Guenther said. ” In the end we did not want to prolong the decision as we know that parents and students will want to know the status of their school as soon as possible.”
A public forum will be held at Marie Sharpe Elementary School on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at 7 p.m.