Nanaimo schools will get new roofs, fresh coats of paint and other needed upgrades this year.
Trustees gave preliminary approval last week to the list of building maintenance projects the district will undertake over the next year using its $2.6-million annual facilities grant funding. The grant is a special fund the province gives to districts for school maintenance work.
Pete Sabo, the district’s director of planning and operations, said about $975,000 will be spent on roofing projects, which will be completed over the next few months to correspond with the good weather.
“A substantial amount of work gets done in the summer,” he said.
Nine schools are expected to get new roofs this year.
Painting, flooring, replacing pea gravel at playgrounds, lighting upgrades and portable upgrades will also take place at various schools.
Some of the other big items taking place this year include washroom upgrades at Chase River Elementary School and North Cedar Intermediate School – $150,000 and $113,500 respectively – and replacing the boiler system at Uplands Park Elementary School, which will cost $100,000.
“We’ve been focusing on washrooms for the past five or six years,” said Sabo. “Health and safety is a big factor.”
The district employs seven full-time tradespeople to work on annual facilities grant projects and between four and six supplementary workers who come in at different times of the year.
Sabo said new provincial requirements that the $2.6 million be spent and all projects be complete by March has meant that staff have to work extra hard to organize the work so that staff are employed steadily throughout the year.
The district’s review of the French immersion program, which is part of the new facilities renewal plan, is also funded through the annual facilities grant at a cost of $50,000, Sabo added.
The review is funded through the program because there are decisions to be made that will likely lead to renovation and capital projects to school buildings, he said.